Ally J Steel, Jazz Revelations

Pursuance: The Coltranes is the latest project from the charismatic New York-based saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin. For the record, Lakecia surrounded herself with a collection of jazz masters and jazz nobility, such as Ron Carter, Gary Bartz and Dee Bridgewater (to name a few), and united them under the mystical music of Alice and John Coltrane.

Titans within jazz, Alice and John Coltrane have had a seismic impact on the music world. The pair’s lure on Lakecia from a young age, who has played with figures like Stevie Wonder to Gregory Porter, is clear.

“A friend of mine had played me an Alice Coltrane record, a long time ago… I was immediately taken and drawn to it.”

This curiosity would lead Lakecia to a deep exploration to find out who this figure was. As Alice as her starting point (and discovering that John was her husband), Lakecia went on, almost fanatically, to find out more the saxophonist’s music.

“I got all the albums I could get and put them in chronological order. So, then I started listening to them one CD at a time, and I spent a week or two with one CD and then kept moving. By the time I got to the end, it’s kind of like, a crazy experience – experiencing ten years of Coltrane – from post-Bebop until his freer period. It became almost like obsessive, seeing someone grow that way. At the time… I wasn’t even aware of what “Bebop” is, or “Swing” is, the genres and the periods.”

“So luckily when I heard it, it was the sound the vibes and the vibrations are what caught me at first. If I listened to it five years ago, I’d be able to tell you whether it was minor or modal, but all I had then was how it made me feel inside. So, this was a key thing of getting me to dig deeper into my musical education you know? To find a name for what I was hearing.”

“It really made me appreciate their music more. It made me research who they were, where they lived, I had to go find out who the artists were because I wasn’t tied into like, ‘oh this was jazz’. I had no idea, I thought this is just music.”


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