John Coltrane, who died aged 40 in 1967, is one of half a dozen truly fundamental contributors to the history of jazz. No-one - not Armstrong, Ellington or Monk, nor even Charlie Parker - inspires quite the same mystique or continuing intensity of fascination. No young saxophonist of the past forty years has been able to escape his influence, and few musicians have had their work so obsessively documented on record. This fantastic book is the first to do justice to this great musical pioneer. As well as an elegant narrative of Coltrane's life Ratliff does something incredibly valuable - he writes about the saxophonist's unique sound.
Shortlisted for National Book Critics Circle Awards: Criticism 2008.
Ben Ratliff, son of American and British parents, is the jazz critic of the New York Times and the author of Jazz: A Critic's Guide to the 100 Most Important Recordings.