John Coltrane’s “classic quartet,” which features John Coltrane – tenor saxophone, McCoy Tyner – piano, Jimmy Garrison – bass, Elvin Jones – drums, perform Afro Blue, Alabama, and Impressions on a 1963 episode of Jazz Casual.
Coltrane’s arrangement of “Afro Blue”, featuring a new time signature and altered harmony, made the song famous. Earlier that year, Coltrane released Impressions, a compilation of live and studio material. During the mid ‘60s, Coltrane ventured beyond the world of hard bop and into the emerging avant-garde style. Coltrane continued to push the boundaries in music and in Jazz until his death from liver disease in 1967.
My goal is to live the truly religious life, and express it in my music. If you live it, when you play there’s no problem because the music is part of the whole thing. To be a musician is really something. It goes very, very deep. My music is the spiritual expression of what I am – my faith, my knowledge, my being.
There is never any end. There are always new sounds to imagine; new feelings to get at. And always, there is the need to keep purifying these feelings and sounds so that we can really see what we’ve discovered in its pure state. So that we can see more and more clearly what we are. In that way, we can give to those who listen the essence, the best of what we are. But to do that at each stage, we have to keep on cleaning the mirror.
The influence Coltrane has had on music spans many genres and musicians. Coltrane’s massive influence on jazz, both mainstream and avant-garde, began during his lifetime and continued to grow after his death. He is one of the most dominant influences on post-1960 jazz saxophonists and has inspired an entire generation of jazz musicians.