Archives for posts with tag: Chasing ‘Trane

bandstand_picPhoto Credit: Hank Williams

Welcome to Suga in My Bowl radio‘s weekly feature, On The Bandstand, where we collect upcoming NYC area shows from current and past Suga’ guests. We’re online weekly and on the air on NYC’s WBAI-FM radio alternate Sunday nights from 11 PM -1 AM. Keep up with us via Facebook, the blog here, or our main website, or Twitter and we’ll keep track of the schedule for you.

We’re off the air this week, but if you missed last week’s show with bassist Charnett Moffett, whose brand new Music From Our Soul release is out on Motéma Records. Now let’s get to those listings.

WBGO Radio has a visual art exhibit featuring works produced by musicians. It’s on view at their studio in downtown Newark NJ and features the work of Will Calhoun, Mino Cinelu, Dick Griffin, Oliver Lake, Carmen Lundy and others. Saxophonist Oliver Lake will be performing for the reception on June 8.

Saxophonist Salim Washington will be at the Fat Cat in Greenwich Village on June 20 (10 PM set), Sista’s Place in Brooklyn on June 24, and Farafina in Harlem on July 1.

Saxophonist Ahmed Abdullah’s Diaspora will be at Sista’s Place on June 24 with saxophonist Salim Washington.

Guitarist Marc Ribot is at Central Park’s Summerstage with Dead Combo on June 24.

Drummer Roy Haynes is at Subrosa with pianist Eddie Palmieri June 26.

Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra led by pianist Carla Bley is at The Blue Note on June 27.

Saxophonist Gary Bartz is at The Blue Note on June 28 with pianist McCoy Tyner.

That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl is scheduled to be back on WBAI‘s airwaves on Sunday June 25. We’ll also have another edition of “On the Bandstand” online next Sunday with a fresh set of listings.

—-
Hank Williams is an associate producer for Suga’ in My Bowl on WBAI Radio and webmaster for the Suga’ and Behind the Mic sites. He is also a PhD candidate in English and Africana Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center and teaches at Hunter and Lehman Colleges and The City College of New York. Find him on Twitter @streetgriot

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bandstand_picPhoto Credit: Hank Williams

Welcome to Suga in My Bowl radio‘s weekly feature, On The Bandstand, where we collect upcoming NYC area shows from current and past Suga’ guests. We’re online weekly and on the air on NYC’s WBAI-FM radio alternate Sunday nights from 11 PM -1 AM. Keep up with us via Facebook, the blog here, or our main website, or Twitter and we’ll keep track of the schedule for you.

This week’s show features bassist Charnett Moffett, whose brand new Music From Our Soul release is out on Motéma Records. Now let’s get to those listings.

WBGO Radio has a visual art exhibit featuring works produced by musicians. It’s on view at their studio in downtown Newark NJ and features the work of Will Calhoun, Mino Cinelu, Dick Griffin, Oliver Lake, Carmen Lundy and others. Saxophonist Oliver Lake will be performing for the reception on June 8.

Director John Scheinfeld’s John Coltrane documentary film Chasing ‘Trane is playing at the Picture House in Pelham until June 15. See our review of the film for a preview.

Director Casper Kollin’s Lee Morgan documentary film I Called Him Morgan  is playing at the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville on June 15. We’ve got a review of that, too.

Bassist/vocalist Richard Bona is at Club Bonafide on June 17 with Mandekan Cubano.

Saxophonist Salim Washington will be at the Fat Cat in Greenwich Village on June 20 (10 PM set), Sista’s Place in Brooklyn on June 24, and Farafina in Harlem on July 1.

Saxophonist Ahmed Abdullah’s Diaspora will be at Sista’s Place on June 24 with saxophonist Salim Washington.

Guitarist Marc Ribot is at Central Park’s Summerstage with Dead Combo on June 24.

Drummer Roy Haynes is at Subrosa with pianist Eddie Palmieri June 26.

Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra led by pianist Carla Bley is at The Blue Note on June 27.

Saxophonist Gary Bartz is at The Blue Note on June 28 with pianist McCoy Tyner.

That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl is scheduled to be back on WBAI‘s airwaves on Sunday June 25. We’ll also have another edition of “On the Bandstand” online next Sunday with a fresh set of listings.

—-
Hank Williams is an associate producer for Suga’ in My Bowl on WBAI Radio and webmaster for the Suga’ and Behind the Mic sites. He is also a PhD candidate in English and Africana Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center and teaches at Hunter and Lehman Colleges and The City College of New York. Find him on Twitter @streetgriot

bandstand_picPhoto Credit: Hank Williams

Welcome to Suga in My Bowl radio‘s weekly feature, On The Bandstand, where we collect upcoming NYC area shows from current and past Suga’ guests. We’re online weekly and on the air on NYC’s WBAI-FM radio alternate Sunday nights from 11 PM -1 AM. Keep up with us via Facebook, the blog here, or our main website, or Twitter and we’ll keep track of the schedule for you.

We’re off the air this week (and recovering from the Vision Fest), but head over to our archives if you missed last week’s show with saxophonist Kidd Jordan.  We’ve also got a review of the first day and days 2 and 4 if you missed this year’s festivities. A review of the last 2 days is coming soon, too. WBAI Radio’s officially wrapped its Spring Fund Drive and thanks to those who pledged! If you didn’t get around to it, it’s not too late to  pledge online snd even a few dollars helps a lot. Now let’s get to those listings.

WBGO Radio has a visual art exhibit featuring works produced by musicians. It’s on view at their studio in downtown Newark NJ and features the work of Will Calhoun, Mino Cinelu, Dick Griffin, Oliver Lake, Carmen Lundy and others. Saxophonist Oliver Lake will be performing for the reception on June 8.

Director John Scheinfeld’s John Coltrane documentary film Chasing ‘Trane is playing at Cinema Village in Manhattan (closes June 8), the Picture House in Pelham (June 9-15), and Time and Space in Hudson (June 10-11). See our review of the film for a preview.

Director Casper Kollin’s Lee Morgan documentary film I Called Him Morgan  is also playing at Time and Space in Hudson (June 8-9) and the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville on June 15. We’ve got a review of that, too.

 

Saxophonist Gary Bartz is at The Blue Note on May 30-31 with pianist McCoy Tyner.

 

Saxophonist Kamasi Washington is at Brooklyn’s McCarren Park on June 8 as part of the Northside Festival.

Guitarist Pat Metheny, bassist Linda May Han Oh, and drummer Antonio Sanchez are at the Beacon Theater on June 10.

The Sun Ra Arkestra led by saxophonist Marshall Allen is at Union Pool in Brooklyn on June 10.

Vocalist Thana Alexa and bassist William Parker are both at the Red Hook Jazz Festival on June 11.

 

Bassist/vocalist Richard Bona is at Club Bonafide on June 10 and 17 with Mandekan Cubano.

That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl is scheduled to be back on WBAI‘s airwaves on Sunday June 11. We’ll also have another edition of “On the Bandstand” online next Sunday with a fresh set of listings.

—-
Hank Williams is an associate producer for Suga’ in My Bowl on WBAI Radio and webmaster for the Suga’ and Behind the Mic sites. He is also a PhD candidate in English and Africana Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center and teaches at Hunter and Lehman Colleges and The City College of New York. Find him on Twitter @streetgriot

bandstand_picPhoto Credit: Hank Williams

Welcome to Suga in My Bowl radio‘s weekly feature, On The Bandstand, where we collect upcoming NYC area shows from current and past Suga’ guests. We’re online weekly and on the air on NYC’s WBAI-FM radio alternate Sunday nights from 11 PM -1 AM. Keep up with us via Facebook, the blog here, or our main website, or Twitter and we’ll keep track of the schedule for you.

This week’s show continues our Vision Festival 22 preview coverage with saxophonist Kidd Jordan, who you can catch at Vision on Friday June 2.  V22 opens at Judson Memorial Church on May 29 and runs through June 3. Scroll down for details and our annual preview is on the way.

 

Before we get to this week’s listings, a reminder that WBAI Radio’s starting its Spring Fund Drive and needs your support to stay on the air and keep our show on the air. There are 3 ways to give. You can call 516-620-3602 (preferably while we’re on the air), pledge online, or just send a text message to 41444 and enter WBAI as the message. You can pledge as little as $5 or consider becoming a sustaining member with a monthly pledge. Of course, we’re grateful for any help you can give.

WBGO Radio has a visual art exhibit featuring works produced by musicians. It’s on view at their studio in downtown Newark NJ and features the work of Will Calhoun, Mino Cinelu, Dick Griffin, Oliver Lake, Carmen Lundy and others. Saxophonist Oliver Lake will be performing for the reception on June 8.

It’s the last call for director John Scheinfeld’s John Coltrane documentary film Chasing ‘Trane at the IFC Center in Manhattan. It’s been held over for awhile now, so best not to delay any longer. See our review of the film for a preview.

Bassist Alex Blake is at The Blue Note with vocalist Julie E on May 29.

Saxophonist Ravi Coltrane is at Birdland from May 30-June 3.

Saxophonist Gary Bartz is at The Blue Note on May 30-31 with pianist McCoy Tyner.

Drummer JT Lewis and bassist Melvin Gibbs are at Le Poisson Rouge with Harriet Tubman on May 31.

Pianist Randy Weston is at Bethany Baptist Church in Newark NJ on June 3 for Jazz Vespers.

Myself—Hank Williams—will be at the Left Forum at John Jay College on June 3 as part of the “Writer as Revolutionary” panel speaking on the Black Arts Movement.

Drummer Will Calhoun is at Prince Street Project Space with Adejoke Tugbiyele on June 4.

Saxophonist Kamasi Washington is at Brooklyn’s McCarren Park on June 8 as part of the Northside Festival.

Guitarist Pat Metheny, bassist Linda May Han Oh, and drummer Antonio Sanchez are at the Beacon Theater on June 10.

The Sun Ra Arkestra led by saxophonist Marshall Allen is at Union Pool in Brooklyn on June 10.

Vocalist Thana Alexa and bassist William Parker are both at the Red Hook Jazz Festival on June 11.

The big event on the horizon is this year’s Vision Fest. It starts on the May 28 at Anthology film archives and moves to Judson Memorial Church from the 29-June 3 with nightly performances of jazz, dance, poetry, and visual art. In addition to William Parker and Cooper-Moore, you can see drummer Hamid Drake, poets Carl Hancock Rux and Jesus Papoleto Melendez, TRIO 3 with Reggie Workman, Andrew Cyrille and Oliver Lake; and saxophonists Charles Gayle and David Murray. There’s also a conference on June 1 at Columbia University sponsored by the Center for Jazz Studies and a new series of after hours sets starting at midnight at Nublu.

WBAI Radio returns as a media sponsor of this year’s Vision Fest.

That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl is scheduled to be back on WBAI‘s airwaves on Sunday June 11. We’ll also have another edition of “On the Bandstand” online next Sunday with a fresh set of listings.

—-
Hank Williams is an associate producer for Suga’ in My Bowl on WBAI Radio and webmaster for the Suga’ and Behind the Mic sites. He is also a PhD candidate in English and Africana Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center and teaches at Hunter and Lehman Colleges and The City College of New York. Find him on Twitter @streetgriot

bandstand_picPhoto Credit: Hank Williams

Welcome to Suga in My Bowl radio‘s weekly feature, On The Bandstand, where we collect upcoming NYC area shows from current and past Suga’ guests. We’re online weekly and on the air on NYC’s WBAI-FM radio alternate Sunday nights from 11 PM -1 AM. Keep up with us via Facebook, the blog here, or our main website, or Twitter and we’ll keep track of the schedule for you.

We’re off the air this week, but if you missed last week’s show (which was a preview of the upcoming Vision Fest) with guests pianist/multi-instrumentalist Cooper-Moore, bassist William Parker, and Vision Festival organizer Patricia Nicholson Parker, head to our archives for the full recap.  Vision Festival opens at Judson Memorial Church on May 29 and the festival runs through June 3. Scroll down for details and our annual preview is coming next week.

Before we get to this week’s listings, a reminder that WBAI Radio’s starting its Spring Fund Drive and needs your support to stay on the air and keep our show on the air. There are 3 ways to give. You can call 516-620-3602 (preferably while we’re on the air), pledge online, or just send a text message to 41444 and enter WBAI as the message. You can pledge as little as $5 or consider becoming a sustaining member with a monthly pledge. Of course, we’re grateful for any help you can give.

WBGO Radio has a visual art exhibit featuring works produced by musicians. It’s on view at their studio in downtown Newark NJ and features the work of Will Calhoun, Mino Cinelu, Dick Griffin, Oliver Lake, Carmen Lundy and others.

It’s the last call for director John Scheinfeld’s John Coltrane documentary film Chasing ‘Trane at the IFC Center in Manhattan. It’s been held over for awhile now, so best not to delay any longer. See our review of the film for a preview.

Drummer and percussionist Bobby Sanabria is at the Blue Note from May 25-28 with Larry Harlow’s Latin Legends.

Poet Carl Hancock Rux is at the Jazz Gallery as part of Joel Ross’ “Being a Young Black Man” on May 26-27.

Saxophonist Oliver Lake leads an organ quartet at Trumpets in Montclair NJ on May 26 and at Smalls on May 27. He’ll also be at the Vision Fest on May 30 and June 3.

Bassist Alex Blake is at The Blue Note with vocalist Julie E on May 29.

Saxophonist Ravi Coltrane is at Birdland from May 30-June 3.

Saxophonist Gary Bartz is at The Blue Note on May 30-31 with pianist McCoy Tyner.

Pianist Randy Weston is at Bethany Baptist Church in Newark NJ on June 3 for Jazz Vespers.

The big event on the horizon is this year’s Vision Fest. It starts on the May 28 at Anthology film archives and moves to Judson Memorial Church from the 29-June 3 with nightly performances of jazz, dance, poetry, and visual art. In addition to William Parker and Cooper-Moore, you can see drummer Hamid Drake, poets Carl Hancock Rux and Jesus Papoleto Melendez, TRIO 3 with Reggie Workman, Andrew Cyrille and Oliver Lake; and saxophonists Charles Gayle and David Murray. There’s also a conference on June 1 at Columbia University sponsored by the Center for Jazz Studies and a new series of after hours sets starting at midnight at Nublu.

WBAI Radio returns as a media sponsor of this year’s Vision Fest.

That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl is scheduled to be back on WBAI‘s airwaves on Sunday May 28. We’ll also have another edition of “On the Bandstand” online next Sunday with a fresh set of listings.

—-
Hank Williams is an associate producer for Suga’ in My Bowl on WBAI Radio and webmaster for the Suga’ and Behind the Mic sites. He is also a PhD candidate in English and Africana Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center and teaches at Hunter and Lehman Colleges and The City College of New York. Find him on Twitter @streetgriot

bandstand_picPhoto Credit: Hank Williams

Welcome to Suga in My Bowl radio‘s weekly feature, On The Bandstand, where we collect upcoming NYC area shows from current and past Suga’ guests. We’re online weekly and on the air on NYC’s WBAI-FM radio alternate Sunday nights from 11 PM -1 AM. Keep up with us via Facebook, the blog here, or our main website, or Twitter and we’ll keep track of the schedule for you.

This week’s guests–pianist/multi-instrumentalist Cooper-Moore, bassist William Parker, and Vision Festival organizer Patricia Nicholson Parker–are at Vision Festival’s opening night at Judson Memorial Church on May 29 and the festival runs through June 3. Scroll down for details and our annual preview is coming soon.

Before we get to this week’s listings, a reminder that WBAI Radio’s starting its Spring Fund Drive and needs your support to stay on the air and keep our show on the air. There are 3 ways to give. You can call 516-620-3602 (preferably while we’re on the air), pledge online, or just send a text message to 41444 and enter WBAI as the message. You can pledge as little as $5 or consider becoming a sustaining member with a monthly pledge. Of course, we’re grateful for any help you can give.

WBGO Radio has a visual art exhibit featuring works produced by musicians. It’s on view at their studio in downtown Newark NJ and features the work of Will Calhoun, Mino Cinelu, Dick Griffin, Oliver Lake, Carmen Lundy and others.

It’s the last call for director John Scheinfeld’s John Coltrane documentary film Chasing ‘Trane It’s been extended at the IFC Center in Manhattan through May 16. If you still haven’t caught it yet, best not to delay any longer. See our review of the film for a preview.

Pianist Harold Mabern leads a trio at Smalls on May 17.

Suga’ in My Bowl host and percussionist Joyce Jones is at the Harlem State Office Building on May 19 for a Malcolm X tribute by the December 12th Movement.

Pianist Onaje Allen Gumbs is at Sista’s Place in Brooklyn on May 20.

Saxophonist Ravi Coltrane and harpist Brandee Younger are at The Knockdown Center in Queens on the 21 for an Alice Coltrane tribute as part of the Red Bull Music Festival. Ravi is also at Birdland from May 30-June 3.

Looking further ahead, drummer and percussionist Bobby Sanabria is at the Blue Note from May 25-28 with Larry Harlow’s Latin Legends.

Poet Carl Hancock Rux is at the Jazz Gallery as part of Joel Ross’ “Being a Young Black Man” on May 26-27.

Saxophonist Oliver Lake leads an organ quartet at Smalls on May 27. He’ll also be at the Vision Fest on May 30 and June 3.

Bassist Alex Blake is at The Blue Note with vocalist Julie E on May 29.

Saxophonist Gary Bartz is at The Blue Note on May 30-31 with pianist McCoy Tyner.

The big event on the horizon is this year’s Vision Fest. It starts on the May 28 at Anthology film archives and moves to Judson Memorial Church from the 29-June 3 with nightly performances of jazz, dance, poetry, and visual art. In addition to William Parker and Cooper-Moore, you can see drummer Hamid Drake, poets Carl Hancock Rux and Jesus Papoleto Melendez, TRIO 3 with Reggie Workman, Andrew Cyrille and Oliver Lake; and saxophonists Charles Gayle and David Murray. There’s also a conference on June 1 at Columbia University sponsored by the Center for Jazz Studies and a new series of after hours sets starting at midnight at Nublu.

WBAI Radio returns as a media sponsor of this year’s Vision Fest.

That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl is scheduled to be back on WBAI‘s airwaves on Sunday May 28. We’ll also have another edition of “On the Bandstand” online next Sunday with a fresh set of listings.

—-
Hank Williams is an associate producer for Suga’ in My Bowl on WBAI Radio and webmaster for the Suga’ and Behind the Mic sites. He is also a PhD candidate in English and Africana Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center and teaches at Hunter and Lehman Colleges and The City College of New York. Find him on Twitter @streetgriot

bandstand_picPhoto Credit: Hank Williams

Welcome to Suga in My Bowl radio‘s weekly feature, On The Bandstand, where we collect upcoming NYC area shows from current and past Suga’ guests. We’re online weekly and on the air on NYC’s WBAI-FM radio alternate Sunday nights from 11 PM -1 AM. Keep up with us via Facebook, the blog here, or our main website, or Twitter and we’ll keep track of the schedule for you.

We’re off the air this week, but if you missed last week’s show with bassist Ron Carter, head over to our archives where that and 7 years of other shows reside.  Speaking of bassists, Linda May Han Oh‘s Walk Against Wind is the current Listen. Hear. entry on our blog. You can stream the entire CD for a limited time!

Now let’s get to this week’s listings.

It’s the last call for director John Scheinfeld’s John Coltrane documentary film Chasing ‘Trane It’s showing at the IFC Center in Manhattan through May 9. See our review of the film for a preview.

Looking further ahead, pianist Vijay Iyer leads his trio at the Village Vanguard from May 9-14.

Guitarist Julian Lage is at The Stone on May 11-12 in their new location at the New School University’s Glass Box Theater.

Flutist Bobbi Humphrey is at Ginny’s Supper Club May 12.

Pianist Harold Mabern leads a trio at Smalls on May 17.

Pianist Onaje Allen Gumbs is at Sista’s Place in Brooklyn on May 20.

Poet Carl Hancock Rux is at the Jazz Gallery as part of Joel Ross’ “Being a Young Black Man” on May 26-27.

Saxophonist Oliver Lake leads an organ quartet at Smalls on May 27.

Saxophonist Gary Bartz is at The Blue Note on May 30-31 with pianist McCoy Tyner.

Saxophonist Ravi Coltrane is at Birdland from May 30-June 3.

Finally, we announced this year’s Vision Fest a few weeks ago, but the full schedule is now up! Head on over to their site for the full schedule. We’ll return with our standard cheat sheet festival preview as the dates get closer.

That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl is scheduled to be back on WBAI‘s airwaves on Sunday May 14. We’ll also have another edition of “On the Bandstand” online next Sunday with a fresh set of listings.

—-
Hank Williams is an associate producer for Suga’ in My Bowl on WBAI Radio and webmaster for the Suga’ and Behind the Mic sites. He is also a PhD candidate in English and Africana Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center and teaches at Hunter and Lehman Colleges and The City College of New York. Find him on Twitter @streetgriot

bandstand_picPhoto Credit: Hank Williams

Welcome to Suga in My Bowl radio‘s weekly feature, On The Bandstand, where we collect upcoming NYC area shows from current and past Suga’ guests. We’re online weekly and on the air on NYC’s WBAI-FM radio alternate Sunday nights from 11 PM -1 AM. Keep up with us via Facebook, the blog here, or our main website, or Twitter and we’ll keep track of the schedule for you.

This week’s show features bassist Ron Carter. He has an 80th birthday celebration at the Blue Note this week through May 7th with different guests each night.  Speaking of bassists, Linda May Han Oh‘s Walk Against Wind is the current Listen. Hear. entry on our blog. You can stream the entire CD for a limited time!

Now let’s get to this week’s listings.

It’s the last call for director John Scheinfeld’s John Coltrane documentary film Chasing ‘Trane It’s showing at the IFC Center in Manhattan through May 2. See our review of the film for a preview.

Saxophonist David Murray leads the Class Struggle ensemble at the Village Vanguard from May 2-7 with trombonist Craig Harris.

Hammond B3 Organ master Dr. Lonnie Smith leads a trio at Aaron Davis Hall on the City College of New York’s Harlem campus on May 5.

Vocalists Dee Dee Bridgewater and Dianne Reeves and drummer Terri Lyne Carrington are at the Abbey Lincoln tribute concert at the Apollo Theater on May 6.

Looking further ahead, pianist Vijay Iyer leads his trio at the Village Vanguard from May 9-14.

Guitarist Julian Lage is at The Stone on May 11-12 in their new location at the New School University’s Glass Box Theater.

Flutist Bobbi Humphrey is at Ginny’s Supper Club May 12.

Pianist Harold Mabern leads a trio at Smalls on May 17.

Finally, we announced this year’s Vision Fest a few weeks ago, but the full schedule is now up! Head on over to their site for the full schedule. We’ll return with our standard cheat sheet festival preview as the dates get closer.

That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl is scheduled to be back on WBAI‘s airwaves on Sunday May 14. We’ll also have another edition of “On the Bandstand” online next Sunday with a fresh set of listings.

—-
Hank Williams is an associate producer for Suga’ in My Bowl on WBAI Radio and webmaster for the Suga’ and Behind the Mic sites. He is also a PhD candidate in English and Africana Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center and teaches at Hunter and Lehman Colleges and The City College of New York. Find him on Twitter @streetgriot

bandstand_picPhoto Credit: Hank Williams

Welcome to Suga in My Bowl radio‘s weekly feature, On The Bandstand, where we collect upcoming NYC area shows from current and past Suga’ guests. We’re online weekly and on the air on NYC’s WBAI-FM radio alternate Sunday nights from 11 PM -1 AM. Keep up with us via Facebook, the blog here, or our main website, or Twitter and we’ll keep track of the schedule for you.

We’re off this week, but if you missed last week’s show with bassist Linda May Han Oh, head over to our archives. For an extended preview of Oh, we’re streaming her just released Walk Against Wind as our next Listen. Hear. entry. You can stream the entire CD for a limited time as well as our previous entry with saxophonist Clare Daly’s 2648 West Grand Boulevard.

Now let’s get to this week’s listings.

Director John Scheinfeld’s John Coltrane documentary film Chasing ‘Trane is showing at the IFC Center in Manhattan through Thursday April 27. See our review of the film for a preview.

Also playing in New York City is Kaspar Collin’s Lee Morgan documentary I Called Him Morgan, which has been held over at the theaters at Lincoln Center. You can see our review of that, too.

Trombonist Craig Harris and Saxophonist David Murray are at the Jack Tilton Gallery in Manhattan on April 24 from 5:30-8 PM for a book release party for Butch Morris’s The Art of Conduction.

Vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater is at WNYC Radio’s Greene Space for an Ella Fitzgerald tribute on April 24.

Trumpeter Hugh Masekela will be at the Town Hall on April 27th with the Jazz Epistles.

Pianist Onaje Allen Gumbs is at Aaron Davis Hall on the City College of New York’s Harlem campus on April 28th.

Saxophonist Ahmed Abdullah leads his Diaspora ensemble in a jazz opera titled Sun Ra Returns at Sista’s Place in Brooklyn on April 29th.

Poet Abiodun Oyewole is at the Brooklyn Folk Festival with The Last Poets at St. Ann’s Church in Brooklyn on April 30th.

Saxophonist David Murray leads the Class Struggle ensemble at the Village Vanguard from May 2-7 with trombonist Craig Harris.

Finally, we announced this year’s Vision Fest a few weeks ago, but the full schedule is now up! Head on over to their site for the full schedule. We’ll return with our standard cheat sheet festival preview as the dates get closer.

That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl is scheduled to be back on WBAI‘s airwaves on Sunday April 30. We’ll also have another edition of “On the Bandstand” online next Sunday with a fresh set of listings.

—-
Hank Williams is an associate producer for Suga’ in My Bowl on WBAI Radio and webmaster for the Suga’ and Behind the Mic sites. He is also a PhD candidate in English and Africana Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center and teaches at Hunter and Lehman Colleges and The City College of New York. Find him on Twitter @streetgriot

chasing_trane_banner
Words by Hank Williams

Veteran documentarian John Scheinfeld (The US vs John Lennon; Who is Harry Nilsson) took on a major task with his latest film: charting the legacy of the late saxophonist John Coltrane, who has nearly mythical status in Jazz and is a cultural icon. Scheinfeld’s Chasing Trane wrapped up the 2016 DOC NYC Festival and is in limited release nationwide.

powers_scheinfeld_tsiokos
Chasing Trane director John Scheinfeld (center) with DOC NYC Artistic Director Thom Powers (L) and DOC NYC Programming Director Basil Tsiokos (R) | Photo by Joyce Jones. Creative Commons CC-NC-BY-ND.

Aside from the obvious pitfalls of dealing with a musician of Coltrane’s stature and renown, much of his life and musical legacy has already been well documented and analyzed. That’s not to say that there’s no more to discover, but rather that the obvious parts of the tale have already been covered. However, the existing The World According to John Coltrane and segments in Ken Burns’ Jazz both leave room for improvement, which opens the door for the current film.

Scheinfeld’s expressed goal was to make a film aimed at a broader audience, including people unfamiliar or marginally familiar with the musician’s work

Indeed, Chasing Trane largely treads familiar ground, tracing Coltrane’s life story from the family’s southern roots through the migration north and the development of his career. There’s not much that’s new here — certainly not for jazz fans — but Scheinfeld’s expressed goal was to make a film aimed at a broader audience, including people unfamiliar or marginally familiar with the musician’s work, so its probably fairer to ask how well the film accomplishes the task it sets out to do. And it’s a monumental task considering the subject, even when accounting for the inevitable compromises necessary for any film, much less one tackling such a large subject.

Scheinfeld had several points in his favor from the beginning by gaining the blessing of Coltrane’s estate. This is a huge advantage, especially when the subject is a musician because of the frightfully high cost of obtaining music rights. The Coltrane family’s assistance resulted in getting favorable deals and made it possible to use a stunning amount of music. Chasing Trane largely uses songs on the soundtrack to set moods for specific scenes, rather than as primary objects of study themselves. The strategy works well, especially combined with Rudy Gutierrez’s impressive animation and visuals, though more identification of songs would be useful considering Scheinfeld’s aim at a broad audience that likely can’t name songs by ear. Simple captions would suffice.

Scheinfeld assembled a star-studded cast of interviewees to add context to the film and tell the story, including former president Bill Clinton, philosopher and writer Cornel West, and rapper/actor Common. West adds some valuable historical insight and interesting reflections on Coltrane’s wider social influence. Unfortunately, Clinton’s contributions, while thoughtful, add little to the narrative. Common appears to be in the film solely for name recognition, as his points are rather obvious and totally forgettable. Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Wynton Marsalis appears, too. While Marsalis does have the musical background to discuss Coltrane, his contributions are minimal and don’t feel particularly necessary.

Much stronger insight comes from Coltrane biographers Ashley Kahn (A Love Supreme: The Story of John Coltrane’s Signature Album; The House That ‘Trane Built) and Lewis Porter (John Coltrane: His Life and Music) who provide the film’s narrative structure and Coltrane colleagues saxophonists Jimmy Heath and Benny Golson. Several of Coltrane’s children appear in the film including his stepdaughter Antonia Austin (also known as Syeeda, the name used for ‘Trane’s tribute on Giant Steps) and sons Ravi and Oran.

Another coup for the film is securing Denzel Washington for narration. Coltrane did very few recorded interviews in his lifetime and, unfortunately, Scheinfeld found the audio quality poor enough that they couldn’t be effectively used in the film. (Pacifica Radio Archives still provides the most famous and lengthy audio interview done by Frank Kofsky.) Instead, Washington’s excellent narration of Coltrane’s printed interviews is weaved throughout the film. Scheinfeld reported that Washington “was mimicking Coltrane’s persona through the words” during the recording and he indeed perfectly captures Coltrane’s understated spirit in his delivery.

Chasing Trane proceeds in chronological order, beginning with the family’s beginnings in North Carolina and northern migration to Philadelphia, mirroring that of hundreds of thousands of African Americans. Coltrane’s service in the US Navy, where he played in a band, is the next focal point. This furthered his musical development and gave him his first commercial recordings as part of the naval band. At this point, he was working on developing a distinct sound on the instrument. Like an entire generation of saxophonists, Coltrane recalled that “the first time [he] heard Charlie Parker [he] knew that [jazz] was the thing” he wanted to pursue seriously.

Coltrane returned to Philadelphia and started gigging after a year in the Navy and traveled with Dizzy Gillespie from 1949-51.

As anyone familiar with the story knows, however, all was not well. Saxophonist Jimmy Heath recalls playing in nightclubs that were hangouts for pimps and hustlers and being exposed to the scene of drugs and hard drinking. Writer Ashley Khan also points out that there was the misguided notion that drugs would enhance playing. Heath recalls getting high with ‘Trane and being fired from Dizzy Gillespie’s band after getting caught, though Coltrane was able to gain a temporary reprieve with promises to straighten up.

Coltrane’s big break was securing a spot in 1957 with one of the hottest working bands around: that of Miles Davis. Bassist Reggie Workman recalled that “you could hear that [Coltrane] was going somewhere and Coltrane could tell that he was going somewhere.” Indeed, the opportunity wasn’t wasted on Coltrane either, who revealed that “It was Miles who made [him] want to be a better musician.”

Unfortunately, Coltrane’s heroin addiction (Davis was addicted also, as were scores of others in that generation) worsened and he became unreliable enough that Davis had to fire him.

Coltrane heeded the wakeup call of getting fired and seeing his life beginning to spiral out of control and made the decision to quit drugs and alcohol: a process done (similar to Davis) at home with the help of his first wife Naima. Antonia Austin provides recollections of the process, remembering the struggle involved for her stepdad. Indeed, her interview is one of the strengths of the film and serves to draw a fuller picture of Coltrane beyond the confines of the bandstand.

According to Kahn, Coltrane was a man on a mission after quitting drugs and sobriety increased his energy level and focus. Pianist Thelonious Monk then hired Coltrane for his band, which signaled the saxophonist’s return to the jazz scene at a high level.

Coltrane’s return also meant another shot at playing with Miles at end of 1957: a key career move that placed him on Davis’ landmark Kind of Blue album. Biographer Lewis Porter also points out that Davis gave ‘Trane a lot of space to improvise: something that would define his career.

coltrane_giant_stepsColtrane was able to sandwich recording his own Giant Steps in between recording sessions for Kind of Blue. His own release established ‘Trane as a writer and bandleader of his own and signaled that he had outgrown Davis’ band. His breakthrough was an adaptation of a simple Broadway pop tune from The Sound of Music. Coltrane’s cover of “My Favorite Things” was a radio hit and became a song he would return to throughout his career, although the familiar melody would become simply the starting point for improvisation: shattered, run through the shredder, and reassembled as a colossal sound collage with scant connections to its namesake.

a_love_supreme_300pxColtrane’s next chapter is familiar to many: the classic quartet with pianist McCoy Tyner, drummer Elvin Jones, and bassist Jimmy Garrison with an expansive ensemble marshalled to live up to the task of bringing Africa Brass to life. The core quartet developed into a well-oiled machine that also reflected (and apparently shared) Coltrane’s developing spiritual approach to the music. Tyner is the only living member of the core group and, fortunately, is interviewed for the film. While he doesn’t say much, capturing almost anything from him is valuable considering his advanced age. Tyner asserts that the quartet felt their music was sharing a “gift that came from the almighty.”

A nice touch is the coverage of Coltrane’s last tour in Japan which included a concert at Nagasaki where “Peace on Earth”, the second song of the set, was dedicated to victims of the US nuclear bombing. Coltrane insisted in stopping and praying at the site before the concert to ground himself spiritually and imagine sound of the planes and pain of the people in an effort to incorporate the feeling as part of his sonic approach. They’re small details, but speak very much to not only Coltrane’s humanity and sensitivity but also his political commitment and leanings and even artistic approach. While it’s true that Coltrane was not as overtly political as some musicians of the era (especially those on the avant garde/ free jazz end of things), his politics seemed to emanate from the deeply spiritual place that his art came from and a deeply felt sense of right and wrong.

So how well does Chasing ‘Trane cover its subject and accomplish its mission? It’s a good introduction to neophytes, very entertaining viewing, and does indeed present Coltrane’s life in an accessible fashion. While it avoids the trap of ignoring the more technically challenging and (to some) controversial music of his last recordings, the treatment here is cursory. This is a shame, as Coltrane’s last period is one area that warrants more attention.

A notable absence is that of saxophonist Pharaoh Sanders, a collaborator on several of Coltrane’s late albums who also played with Alice Coltrane’s ensemble after John’s death. Sanders is one of the few musicians living who played extensively with Coltrane and indeed the last living member of his late career groups. Sanders still tours and plays actively and his comments on Coltrane’s legacy could only be an asset.

The section of the film covering the latter part of Coltrane’s career is where writer Ben Ratliff might’ve been put to more use, as his Coltrane: The Story of a Sound explores some of this territory, with an eye toward Coltrane’s evolving musical approach. In the film, John Densmore, former drummer of The Doors, recalls seeing half of the audience walking out from later concerts: a sobering reminder that the Coltrane of 2016 exists in a form and level of adulation far removed from the contemporary views of his work. Deeper and more nuanced investigation of this era would be helpful.

The end result is a film that’s reception–like most films–will depend largely on the prospective audience. For those who Scheinfeld primarily aims to attract, Chasing ‘Trane provides a good, if understandably brief, overview of Coltrane’s life and work with the emphasis on the former. There’s value in that, as it’s easy to forget that John Coltrane has now been dead longer than he was alive and it’s the constant reintroduction of the sheer joy, beauty, and virtuosity of his work to new audiences that will keep his spirit alive and hopefully inspire some to see how they can take it further.

The impressive array of visuals, excellent production, and music make for an enjoyable experience. Fans steeped in Coltrane lore will probably wish for more depth, but the film’s not primarily for them. That said, if one loves Coltrane, it’s still difficult to resist what’s on offer. At minimum, Antonia Austin’s insightful reflections as a mature adult on her stepfather’s life and McCoy Tyner’s thoughts will be new to many.

The above strengths make some of the narrative decisions in Chasing ‘Trane disappointing because of the possibilities given the strength of the subject: Coltrane’s story has built-in drama, tension, and triumph at the center that make for an automatically compelling tale. It may be personal bias, but this reviewer wishes the film leaned more toward deeper investigation. These are judgment calls, but a strong story can be trusted to provide compelling viewing for the audience, and that’s the case here.

Does Coltrane’s story need Bill Clinton and Common to attract funding and viewers?

Does Coltrane’s story need Bill Clinton and Common to attract funding and viewers? Maybe. But maybe it could stand on its own and eliminating some of the fluff would keep the storyline tight while creating enough space for some of what’s missing. At the very least, more screen time with Benny Golson (who is still clearly deeply affected by Coltrane’s passing) and Jimmy Heath would be valuable additions. Golson’s continuing emotional connection speaks very much to why Coltrane still matters.

Chasing ‘Trane works because of its subject and Scheinfeld’s competent handling of the story. Asking it to do much more than it does may be unfair. But a subject who seemed to believe that anything was musically possible prompts one to ask all sorts of questions and demand more. Maybe that’s the point.

(Original post lightly edited for spelling and clarity and updated to add screening information. Original publication date of 12/19/2016)

Chasing ‘Trane is playing at the IFC Center in New York City through April 25 and in limited release nationwide. See the film website for upcoming screenings in other areas.

Related: For a deeper dive into the film’s backstory, see Joyce Jones’s radio interview with Chasing Trane director John Scheinfeld in the Suga’ in My Bowl audio archives.
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Hank Williams is an associate producer for Suga’ in My Bowl on WBAI Radio and webmaster for the Suga’ and Behind the Mic sites. He is also a PhD candidate in English and Africana Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center and teaches at Hunter and Lehman Colleges and The City College of New York.

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