A LOVE – SUPREME . . . !!!!!

YES . . . !!!!!

I caught the new, and totally engrossing . . JOHN COLTRANE DOCUMENTARY – ‘CHASING TRANE’, directed by JOHN SCHEINFELD on the very last night of the superb DOC NYC 2016 FESTIVAL – last Thursday.

totally wonderful experience, the film’s director, JOHN SCHEINFELD attended & we, the enraptured audience . . had the intimate opportunity to hear many sweet stories from behind-the-scenes & to have many of the powerful, inspiring & esp spiritual moments of this talented, beyond-the-beyond ‘spiritual’ man’s life & music journey – brought even closer to us.

the film brings the music and the man to life – what more can you say.
a film that fills the venue with Coltrane’s music, richly accompanied by many many archival clips, even some . . just found . . early color (8MM?) DIY home movies. a long lost old recording studio clip, many various voice-overs, and profound, seriously: inserts/clips of the few surviving jazz era musicians, who knew and played with John Coltrane – were among my personal fave.

to help ‘tell’ the story, DENZEL WASHINGTON reads emotionally – from old John Coltrane interviews (which had been published in magazines throughout the years) . . as if he were the ghost come back. and then, there were some surprises. some very moving, archival, black & white video . . of when John Coltrane, and his ‘deep waters’ / wife ALICE COLTRANE, went to Japan on tour – and stopped in Nagasaki to honor the victims of the horrific atomic bombings.
and even fast forward, an amazing snippet . . of: one-helluva-crazy . . ‘super fan’ in Japan, today.
does this movie ‘catch the Trane’ – no doubt about it.
as much as a man of this stature, can be . . caught.
it tells the story, and it plays . . the music.

notably, the film also features JOHN COLTRANE inspired / illustration / artwork by RUDY GUTIERREZ, who to my total absolute delight was sitting right . . behind me !!

on the left: JOHN SCHEINFELD, veteran documentarian (The U.S vs. John Lennon), Director of ‘Chasing Trane’ – who weaves together a visual & truly spiritual portrayal . . of the music and the man.
at the right: veteran Jazz musician, JIMMY HEATH, aka ‘Little Bird’. his cameos in the film are just so off-the-cuff profound, wise and smooth – as to be some of the most memorable ‘living’ moments in the film.
also not to forget: Jimmy’s super snazzy, but low-key style: that hidden front-buttoned, gray shirt, oh my.
JIMMY HEATH: so vibrant, yet calm. handsome. Soho ‘minimalism’- on point . . !!
this man has had some life, and the strength of inner soul – to prove it.

THOM POWERS, the Artistic Director of DOC NYC.
see: DOC NYC

RUDY GUTIERREZ . . . artist.

I had noticed Mr. Gutierrez, earlier that evening, when I was standing in line to enter the SVA theatre. he seemed really super-charged and very dynamic. animated. my inner radar went: ping. so when John Scheinfeld, said the artist who had contributed the drawings at the beginning of the film, was in the audience, & gave him a shout out, & asked him to stand up, to much applause – I turned around and there he was, same guy. right behind me. indeed, I got a little spooked.

backtrack slightly: Mr.Scheinfeld, besides using words & interviews, historic photographic footage – and most of all . . plenty of the music itself !!
to get across John Coltrane’s infinite musical ‘universe’ – esp as the music evolved, also tries using visual ‘art’ to engage the viewer more fully with the music. the film opens with the infinite cosmos, the stars and skies. and then at some point Mr. Gutierrez’s raw and powerful drawings, with their African American roots & free-form, sensuous vitality – are called into play.

spiritual, rambling, rolling, evocative – they have the feel & visual depth of black folk-telling, ‘outsider’ art, & ancient/contemporary woodblock design, the influence of the great Black Panther artist – Emory Douglas ? in a word: cultural illustration at its best. they hold in their fluid lines, and honey gold colors the inherent celebration of our country’s black roots / soul, blues and jazz. slavery, gospel, spiritual heartful-ness. America – the whole damn mess & the once invisible, black African cultural attainment – coming forth, poring forth painfully, and yet ultimately: joyfully . . just as John Coltrane’s music surely did. and does.

the colors of these paintings are not just the color of so-called ‘folk art’ but they are radiant, like colored glass. truly: the light they cast is radiant, like that of a stained glass window, in a church.
stained glass windows . . in the Cathedral of Jazz.


I don’t want to get too into it, but Coltrane’s music is not just for / or a case for: the ‘initiated’. plenty of the participants, like the wonderful showman / philosopher CORNEL WEST . . knew Coltrane’s life well, and ‘got’ the intent of the music . . but, as he himself readily admitted, Mr. West could not fully ‘fly’ with the sound / that is, some of the initiated, people who loved & admired Coltrane, just could not fully let go & do the free-fall, follow the musical stream of conscious / while others – who might not know his whole life story at all – barely had words for the rapture they felt on just, just: hearing the music.
the art of Rudy Gutierrez danced to the music – and, hopefully opened a sensory pathway.

JOHN COLTRANE – SCREEN GRAB from the trailer

go to the film’s official website . . ‘CHASING TRANE – The John Coltrane Documentary’ . . scroll down a bit & watch the trailer !!

RUDY GUTIERREZ, “John Coltrane, Divided Soul’, 2011.
Acrylic and crayon on board. 25.5 x 40 in.
image courtesy: the artist

RUDY GUTIERREZ, ‘Slavery, Blues, Church and Jazz’, 2011.
Acrylic, collage, mixed media on board. 30 x 40 in.
image courtesy: the artist

unless otherwise noted.