Jazz saxophonist John Coltrane on the force that drives an artist
Such an exceptionally beautiful letter. One to carry in your head and your heart like a cherished memory.
Wow. This is a gorgeous, beautifully-written letter full of intelligence, insight, revelation and potent truths. "Freedom" and "The Creative Urge": Yes!!! Funny, I was just reading Van Gogh's collected letters to his brother Theo. Powerful. I know what Coltrane means when he talks about VG being against the grain and not fitting in with convention. Ditto what he said about innovators and how they're often ostracized for a while until things shift in the culture. Reminds of Steve Jobs, a man no one saw doing what he did, who changed the face of contemporary society radically. I love how Trane commented on ultimate freedom and jazz being a creative portal to that freedom. I've been listening to JC's music for a long time. He's one of the few artists I can play while I'm writing. What wit and brilliant sense of awareness. I started listening to jazz in my early twenties, 18 years ago, after reading Jack Kerouac's "On the Road." Kerouac (another artist who shifted the culture and chased freedom) was considered the beat writer who "wrote like jazz." Anyway. Superb material here. Thank you for sharing. Great way to start the day. https://michaelmohr.substack.com
What a powerful letter by John Coltrane. I agree 100% about the creative urge being strongest in the "rejects, outcasts, sub-citizens" of society and I have experienced a strengthening of the creative urge myself. We never know how far down the well goes until we toss a small stone into it, and hear a loud crash after so many seconds, a great sound coming from the combination of a small pebble and a great distance. I think that's why those of us "rejects" have the strongest creative urge and create the best art.