Written Assignment #3: John Coltrane
John Coltrane is an undisputed giant of jazz. There was an evolution in his creative style-both as composer and performer-from 1957 to 1964. Yet, there is an aspect of Coltrane’s performance artistry that remains distinctly identifiable throughout his career. Remarkably, his music would evolve further in the last three years of his life (1964-1967) into the realm of free jazz, some of which we will hear in this course.
Listening attentively to My Favorite Things played by John Coltrane, soprano saxophone (ss); McCoy Tyner, piano (p); Steve Davis, bass (b); and Elvin Jones, drums (d); and address the following questions:
Provide counter numbers for the beginnings and ends of the solos by McCoy Tyner and John Coltrane. (The order of solos in this piece is: Coltrane (melody), Tyner, Coltrane.)
Tyner plays the A section and then “vamps” with the pedal point in the bass before he begins to solo. A vamp is when one or two chords are repeated, usually with a pedal point. Coltrane also states the A section in his solo. Describe their solo styles.
Listen to Tyner and Coltrane phrase or create musical lines over the chord changes. Do Tyner and Coltrane solo on the chord changes of the melody? Do you recognize the modal characteristics of these solo sections? Try to include some detail.
Describe the rhythmic feel of drummer Elvin Jones and bassist Steve Davis during Coltrane’s solo. Would you describe the style of these soloists as bop, hard bop, modal, elements of all or something else? Explain in detail using what you’ve learned from the Lessons about these particular styles.