Trane

By: Ben Slackenov
March 29, 2003

John Coltrane is my self-absorbed lonely-manís music
i hear perfection in every note
Because John never had to impress anybody
But himself

These are the days that men are forgiven their mistakes
The misfortunes of their politics,
Prejudices,
Religious conflicts,
Self elevated status

The saxophone haunts me
It is so loud and individually unique
John wrestles with the lines
He torments the keys of his instrument
He pounds at the notes through his lungs and
Subdues the wild humanity lost during the day
into
Something elevated
Something more than one man playing a sax
Something more than what the world has become
And yet
His effort haunts me

Elvinís cymbals are along for the ride
Back and forth his sticks swinging casually across the metal surfaces
Time is everything
The snare breaks in
Some toms roll by
All the time the cymbals sneaking in their structure
Holding on sanity

McCoy plays his keys like Elvinís toms
The ivories roll in and roll back out
Each note making a statement to the next
They continue past a quick flurry of toms
Creating a be-bop, foot-taping arrangement of their own
One hand plodding out a sophisticated rhythm
While the other taps and bounces across each note
Like a ballet dancer
In love with her teacher
Giving him a perfect, well rehearsed, but impressive performance

Solid bass
The perfect period
Dots where they belong
Jimmy knows when to let the string go
No jerking-off here
Warm deep wood moving underneath the arrangement
Just enough playing to keep things interesting
And hold down the harmony,
The melody
Between the beats
On the piano

i still hear John like a determined ghost
Breathing through his reed
Each note alone
Searching for more than perfection
Searching for the same thing that i am
Something beyond the grave
That will haunt me
Till I die

"Ben's Jazz Poems"

"For the unedited version of Trane click here."