Today in history… July 17, 1967, John William Coltrane died from liver cancer at Huntington Hospital in Long Island, NY.
He was just 40 years young.
Since his death, I could be wrong, but my research tells me that there really hasn’t been what I’d call a “high-profile,” definitive film (whether scripted or documentary) on Coltrane’s life, or even just some aspect of or period within it.
Long-time Spike Lee editor (as well as director and producer in his own right) Sam Pollard, has been working on a John Coltrane doc for about a year now (we first learned about it last fall), currently titled A Love Supreme: A Portrait of John Coltrane in 4 Parts, which is said to be based on the critically acclaimed book A Love Supreme: The Story of John Coltrane’s Signature Album by music journalist Ashley Kahn.
My research revealed that A Love Supreme: A Portrait of John Coltrane in 4 Parts will be structured in the same way as Coltrane’s influential 1964 album of the same name. The album is divided into four parts: Acknowledgement, Resolution, Pursuance, and Psalm. It will feature interviews with Coltrane’s bandmates and friends, as well as historians and music journalists, artists and people of faith who were inspired by the album.
Also, and interestingly, Pollard says he plans to use animation to help tell Coltrane’s story.
There certainly have been other docs on Coltrane, like the hour-long 1990 documentary The World According To John Coltrane. But Pollard’s sounds wholly original in its style and structure, and I’ve been looking forward to it since I first learned about it.
No word on when it can be expected, although I’d assume we’re about a year away from a premiere.
In the meantime, below, watch the hour-long 1990 documentary The World According To John Coltrane, which was made in cooperation with Coltrane’s then widow Alice Coltrane. And feel free to list your favorite John Coltrane moments/tracks.