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India Music Week (N.Y.): John Coltrane and the integration of Indian concepts in jazz improvisation (Essay)

Posted by ElJay Arem (IMC OnAir) on October 8, 2013

origin: Jazz Research Journal / issue: JRJ 2.2 (2008) 155-175 (print: ISSN 1753-8637 / online: ISSN 1753-8645)
publisher/editor: Tony Whyton / University of Salford (© Equinox Publishing Ltd 2009.)


Jazz Research Journal explores a range of cultural and critical views on jazz. The journal celebrates the diversity of approaches found in jazz scholarship and provides a forum for interaction and the cross-fertilisation of ideas. It is a development and extension of The Source: Challenging Jazz Criticism founded in 2004 at the Leeds College of Music.
The journal aims to represent a range of disciplinary perspectives on jazz, from musicology to film studies, sociology to cultural studies, and offers a platform for new thinking on jazz. In this respect, the editors particularly welcome articles that challenge traditional approaches to jazz and encourage writings that engage with jazz as a discursive practice.
Jazz Research Journal publishes original and innovative research that either extends the boundaries of jazz scholarship or explores themes which are central to a critical understanding of the music, including the politics of race and gender, the shifting cultural representation of jazz, and the complexity of canon formation and dissolution.
In addition to articles, the journal features a reviews section that publishes critical articles on a variety of media, including recordings, film, books, educational products and multimedia publications.
Jazz Research Network members can subscribe to the journal at a discount.


John Coltrane and the
integration of Indian
concepts in jazz

… written by Carl Clements
(Professor for Music, Hampshire College, Amherst, MA.)


English: A portrait of John Coltrane by Paolo ...

A portrait of John Coltrane by Paolo Steffan, 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

John Coltrane was at the forefront of many important directions in jazz in the 1950s and 1960s, including ‘hard bop’, ‘modal jazz’, ‘avant-garde jazz’, and ‘world music’. One interest that became an increasingly dominant focus for him in his later years was the study of Indian music and spirituality. While Coltrane’s music remained firmly rooted in jazz, this exploration was an important part of the development of Coltrane’s personal style from the early 1960s to the end of his life in 1967. A number of factors inspired Coltrane to explore Indian music and thought, and an investigation of specific applications of these ideas in his music will present some insight into his stylistic motivation. His incorporation of Indian ideas also inspired many other musicians, such as John McLaughlin, Dave Liebman, and Jan Garbarek, to pursue this direction, and it remains an important part of his legacy.

Read the fully article in following PDF

Contact the Author: Carl Clements PhD candidate, Ethnomusicology,
City University of New York Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York 10016-4309 USA

(Source: 10/2013 – IMW – India Music Week | Essays)


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