John Coltrane: How to Listen to Albums

coltrane 65SKF NOTE: Somewhere — among my magazines, I think — there is a John Coltrane interview in which Coltrane’s how-to-listen-to-albums idea helps my ear training and gives me great joy. Maybe it will do the same for you.

John Coltrane told his interviewer if you really want to hear an album, listen to it once for each musician on the album so “you can hear what each man is doing.”

monk_coltrane_carnegieFor example, the Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall album. Listen to it once focusing on Thelonious Monk, even when he’s comping behind a soloist, even when he’s laying out. Focus on when Monk is playing, when he is not playing, and on what he’s playing.

The next time you listen to that album, focus in the same way on drummer Shadow Wilson. Then on John Coltrane. And then on bassist Ahmed Abdul-Malik.

I can’t remember if Coltrane also told the interviewer to listen to albums once focusing on the whole band. I think he did.

Happy New Listening!

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4 Responses to John Coltrane: How to Listen to Albums

  1. Pingback: Keith Copeland: Approaching Trios to Symphony Orchestras | Scott K Fish

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  3. scottkfish says:

    Hi David. Thank you for writing. I’ll check Kahn’s book — which I own. But I’m 99.9% sure the remarks are Coltrane’s. Will keep digging and publish the source when I find it. // Best, skf

  4. David Stoesz says:

    I think that was from the book on A Love Supreme by Ashley Kahn, and it wasn’t Coltrane who said it, it was McCoy or Elvin. Maybe.

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