The Joyful, Continuing Path of a Musical Self-Education



SKF NOTE: I found a monaural cut-out copy of John Coltrane’s Africa/Brass album in a drugstore on a wire display rack filled with cut-out albums. Africa/Brass is the John Coltrane Quartet with a big band.

That was my introduction to every musician on that record — including drummer Elvin Jones. Elvin’s playing was different than the more familiar Swing Era drummers like Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich. But I liked Elvin’s sound. I liked the whole Africa/Brass album.

And from listening and reading Dom Cerulli‘s liner notes for that album alone I read about musicians who influenced John Coltrane — Johnny Hodges, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Eric Dolphy. The Africa/Brass session musicians weren’t listed on the original album sleeve.

My point is, to a young guy with a love for music, that one album offered paths to follow to learn more. Which is exactly what I did — and still do. Each new album, book, magazine article, helped reveal fuller portraits of the musicians, other sounds, and new musical paths to follow.

I recommend this joyful, continuing musical self-education method to anybody.

About Scott K Fish
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