John Coltrane with Miles Davis – Live In Amsterdam – 1960 – Past Daily Downbeat – Birthday Edition – (John Coltrane – September 23, 1926)
A monumental pairing this weekend. John Coltrane, along with Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers and Jimmy Cobb, along with Miles Davis in concert from Amsterdam and recorded by the Netherlands Radio network VARA on April 4, 1960.
As you probably know, September 23rd this year marked what would have been John Coltrane’s 91st birthday. Interestingly enough, that birth date is also shared with Ray Charle and Bruce Springsteen.
So one of the big questions going around the Net today is, in a hundred years from now, which of these artists will still be remembered and discussed?
Good question – because it’s difficult, if not impossible to predict what people will be listening or responding to in 2117. We think we know now, but times, tastes and perspectives change over the years and you can never know exactly what people will be thinking in the future.
I bring that up because history is often strange and unpredictable – we are sometimes convinced that what is memorable and game-changing now will have the same affect on people in the distant future. But as has been proven over and over – those icons of Popular Culture from an earlier time are all but forgotten now. People considered revolutionary in 1907 don’t raise so much as an eyebrow in 2017. Especially true of the Performing Arts – ask anyone born in 2000 who Sarah Bernhardt was and they will stare blankly. One of the foremost figures in the Theatre and one of the great actors of the century raises no sign of recognition from practically anyone but Theatre majors.
So my bet is, predicated on whether or not there will still be musicians playing Jazz and kids getting turned on to it, would be John Coltrane. Because his contribution was so dramatic and pivotal that just about every aspect of non-mainstream Music has been influenced, knowingly or unknowingly by him. Distant runner-up would be Ray Charles because, even though he was massively popular during his lifetime, whether that will translate over to a generation a hundred years from now may be a bit more difficult. Bruce Springsteen, I doubt people will know who he is a hundred years from now. Springsteen has been an icon of Popular Culture for many years – but Popular Culture, as I’ve noticed, doesn’t often sustain for a long period of time.
But then – what do I know? I may be completely wrong and Springsteen will be the one people remember the next century. We’re funny and unpredictable that way. That still doesn’t stop you from checking these artists out and coming to your own conclusions.
In the meantime, have a listen to this Coltrane concert if you aren’t familiar with his work, and be reminded he was on the plant for a relatively short time and he got started on the 23rd of September if you do.