Trane’s Gospel

Trane’s Gospel

You knew that if you didn’t stay on top of the beat
the beat would have its way with you.
Your prayer of music wouldn’t be as sincere
if you had followed someone else’s prayer.

Your sound, almost indecipherable
but we can hear your unrelenting effort, your patience
carved as a psalm for us, right now
transcending our pettiness and frailty
making us think that we can be better than what we are
because we can hear your music.
Yes, we can hear your music. Thank God.



About this poem

From Ken Burns’ Jazz Documentary:

Music for many people has been an avenue to the spiritual life we all manifest in some fashion or another. With the possible exception of Ellington, no other musician has embraced that spirituality quite so positively, quite so confidently, quite so powerfully as saxophonist John Coltrane. “The thing that’s always in John Coltrane,” Marsalis told us, “is the lyrical shout of the preacher in the heat and full fury of attempting to transform the congregation.” In 1964, Coltrane made one of the best-selling jazz albums of the decade and one of the most influential records of all time: the four-part devotional suite A Love Supreme.

In 1966, someone asked him what his plans were for the next decade.

“To try to become a saint,” he replied.

Link: John Coltrane’s Biography