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Oct 03, 2001 10:26 AM
by DNisk98114

Relevant Music 

On Steve Rowland's monumental John Coltrane radio documentary being aired on 
NPR stations, "Tell Me How Long Trane's Been Gone," there's an interesting 
segment about "Alabama." Trane wrote the composition in 1963, as a reaction 
to a racist church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama that killed four precious 
young girls.
To put to the test the long standing rumor that Coltrane patterned his melody 
after the cadence of Martin Luther King's moving eulogy, Rowland superimposed 
the Coltrane composition and the results were rather startling. Hearing the 
music on top of King's speech, and how perfectly in tune Trane's tenor was 
with King's voice, it's obvious just how deeply Trane was indeed touched and 
inspired by King's words, which spoke of the incident being "the greatest 
tragedy of our time." Even more amazing is just how moving and affecting 
Coltrane's playing is on this track. Talk about heartfelt emotion. Talk about 
depth of feeling. Coltrane's music was of its time, and the fervor of the 
sixties informed everything he did in his last seven years. 

In fact, there were a number of artists back then who wrote music, sometimes 
with words, and sometimes without, that was informed by the times. Music that 
spoke to the issues that were at the forefront of our culture 

When was the last time you heard a performance, or a recording, that spoke to 
any issue at all? 

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