JOHN COLTRANE ON BLACK MUSIC
AND AFFIRMATIVE PHILOSOPHY

"We have absolutely no reason to worry about lack of positive and affirmative philosophy. It's built in us. The phrasing, the sound of the music attest this fact. We are naturally endowed with it. You can believe all of us would have perished long ago if this were not so. As to community, the whole face of the globe is our community. You see, it is really easy for us to create. We are born with this feeling that just comes out no matter what conditions exist. Otherwise, how could our founding fathers have produced this music in the first place when they surely found themselves (as many of us do today) existing in hostile communitites where there was everything to fear and damn few to trust. Any music which could grow and propagate itself as our music has, must have a hell of an affirmative belief inherent in it."


John Coltrane on the artist and society, Aaron Copland, Vincent Van Gogh, community, freedom, affirmative philosophy, from a letter by Coltrane to Don DeMichael, 2 June 1962.

SOURCE: Coltrane: A Biography by Cuthbert Ormond Simkins, M.D. (Baltimore: Black Classic Press, 1989), p. 159.


The Theory & Practice of John Coltrane

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