This So-Called Post-Post-Racial Life

June 12, 2009

OSF: Keep It Coltrane

Filed under: Old School Friday, Uncategorized — Tags: , , — pprscribe @ 1:18 pm

This week’s Old School Friday theme is Keep It in the Family. I’m going to focus on one extremely talented family, The Coltranes. No, this is not a musical group, but different songs by three different Coltranes.

play-ville-de-lumiere-by-gold Of course legendary John Coltrane anchors this playlist. In here is his version of “My Favorite Things” and him playing with Miles Davis on “Round Midnight” (probably one of my top 10 all-time favorite songs of any musical genre). Then there is wife Alice Coltrane and her version of “My Favorite Things,” and son Ravi Coltrane and his versions of “Round Midnight” and “Epistrophy.”

I have mentioned here before how I am fascinated by different versions of the same song. Well, different versions of the same song by family members is an even more interesting twist. And all this in the context of jazz—an art form already with improvisation and putting a new spin on things—ups the interest ante even more.

With John’s version of “My Favorite Things,” note his use of the soprano saxophone instead of his signature tenor. Alice Coltrane’s spin on this tune reflects her religious expression within her music—as did most of her more well-known songs including other of her versions of her husband’s songs. The original version of Thelonious Monk’s “Epistrophy” is another one of my all-time favorite jazz songs. On this one listen to John’s sax solo and contrast it with Ravi’s more hyper, fast paced sax.

There were so many other songs I could have chosen comparing and contrasting the versions of these three. I’m telling you, I could do this all day! And maybe I will—it is, after all, Old School Friday! Hope you have a good one and a great weekend.


As always, a big thank you to OSF hostesses, Marvalus at Conversations with Marva

and MrsGrapevine.

Please check out the rules for joining and list of other OSF participants here.



  1. LOL!! Excellent choice! I came across these last night while on my search! You learn something new every day. I knew about Alice but did not know about the son until last night!

    Comment by regina — June 12, 2009 @ 1:41 pm

  2. I was in early last night and kinda thought this was the way ya’ll would go – Family singing groups. But you know me – my twisted little brain sees things just a bit differently.

    I immediately thought of Heart and Soul – A musical family thread for over 40 years because of the piano lessons we all took as kids.

    I see you too had that experience from your comment on my post, lol. Ah, scales – the dreaded drudgery of de keyboard!

    Happy OSF.

    Comment by Pop Art Diva — June 12, 2009 @ 2:41 pm

  3. I get hooked on different interpretations of the same song as well. Can’t go wrong with good jazz artists. 🙂 Happy OSF!

    Comment by nordette aka verite — June 12, 2009 @ 6:27 pm

  4. Oh Wow! This is amazing.

    Comment by Hagar's Daughter — June 12, 2009 @ 11:20 pm

  5. **PG Rated**

    Mrs Pprscribe, you are starting to really piss me off. You have to be a fictional character. I’ve been to a few places in my lifetime, including different continents but lets see. An educated black women with killer writing skills/A mother and wife/ Doesn’t tolerate mess and doesn’t start any/Has a husband that looks like Jeffrey Wright and can support her and the children/ Has several degrees/ Has a little green thumb – don’t mind getting her hands dirty/ Can play a musical instrument/ Flows easily (can mix)through most ethnic groups ….AND THEN you drop the Coltrane (family) on us. Damn, although I don’t do it anymore, I felt like getting out my Crusader double jacket album to separate the seeds and stems from my weed. Yep, I felt like rolling a joint and putting on Bobby Humpreys & The Black Birds.

    See, I don’t know what you look like and I don’t think I ever want to know. Your image is like one of those digital photo frames. One minute you are Condeleisa(sp) Rice and next your a Prince groupie. I turn my back and Oprah pops up. I wait a minute and you’re a bobby sock wearing black nerdgirl. I come back and you’re Harriett Tubmen(sp) taking your children for a ride on the underground railroad. I turn out the lights and the picture starts to glow in the dark. It’s you and Miles Davis playing “Kind Of Blue”.

    I know you know this song, “heaven must be like this, it must be like this”? Well, I wonder if your husband ever sings that song?

    Well, maybe he doesn’t because I don’t think I will ever see you in the kitchen rolling out dough to make homemade biscuits. I don’t think I’ll ever see you in the kitchen preparing a pot of Gumbo or Ox tails, red beans and rice? If you can also cook, don’t tell me, you’re starting to piss me off *lol*.

    Comment by careycarey — June 13, 2009 @ 2:54 pm

  6. Happy OSF! Remarkable research and choices for this week. I thoroughly enjoyed the new information and the audio clip…

    I invite your blog readers to ‘keep it in the family’ with the sitcom family from Good Times. Can you say Dy…No….Mite!

    peace, Villager

    Comment by Villager — June 13, 2009 @ 6:47 pm

  7. LOL @ careycarey…

    I listen to John Coltrane all the time…Alice and Ravi? Not so much…

    I’ve been missing out…

    Comment by Marvalus — June 13, 2009 @ 11:08 pm

  8. Thanks, all, for dropping by my OSF jazz set!

    Carey, I’ll say it again: you are ill, brother. 🙂 Well never worry about me being a superhero or something—one thing (among many) I am *not* good at is cooking. If it doesn;t come with a box/package with printed directions, I’m out of luck.

    Marvalus, John Coltrane was not one of the first wave of jazz musicians I got into. It took me a looooong time to like him, mainly I think because everyone tried to introduce me to him via “A Love Supreme.” That is not, IMO, the easiest album for new jazz lovers to connect with.

    Regina, one thing I especially respect about Ravi is he is trying to do his own thing *playing the same instrument* as his father. That’s quite a challenge!

    Nordette, you would say that about jazz, being from New Orleans and whatnot. What are some of your favorite songs to listen to different versions of?

    Comment by pprscribe — June 14, 2009 @ 11:42 am

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