The Weekly Standard had an long (and good) article about John Coltrane and the history of post-WW II jazz that came out last week. You can click on the image at the top of the post for the article or here.
This was an interesting quote from the article:
“People who write about jazz tend to place the late style at the top of the pile—but what do they know? Most of them cannot play the music and many of them cannot understand the technicalities. Lacking practical understanding, they fall back on fashion and the hagiographic assumption that if progress is good, then late is great. I am not alone in feeling that, as works of art, Beethoven’s Fifth and Seventh are more successfully realized than his Ninth. Nor am I alone in finding the formal asceticism of Four Quartets less satisfying than the grab-bag of The Waste Land. I have also noticed that when someone claims that Finnegans Wake is better than Ulysses, you should stand by for an act of intellectual imposture. The story goes that Coltrane was using LSD after 1965. If so, then the overreach and incoherence of his final music, and his mingling with admiring but inferior talents like Alice Coltrane, the Yoko Ono of jazz, suggest that Coltrane might be the sixties’ first and foremost acid casualty, flailing out rather than flaming out, the peak of his late style already behind him.”
[Illustration by Philip Burke]