Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Learn About Jazz Legend John Coltrane in "Traneumentary"

Podcasts have evolved from entertainment to education, but that goes far beyond university lectures and language courses. Now you can learn all about legendary saxophonist John Coltrane, and hear his music, at the "Traneumentary" Web site.

Yes, it's an awkward name, combining "Coltrane" and "documentary," but the idea is a great one and the execution is involving and high-quality. The Web site features informative blog entries, and the companion podcast features exclusive interviews as well as excerpts of Coltrane's music. Episodes feature commentary from figures such as Jimmy Cobb, McCoy Tyner, Sonny Rollins, Terence Blanchard, and many others.

In one episode, legendary drummer Jimmy Cobb talks of his experiences playing and recording with Coltrane. In another, singer Karrin Allyson talks about her first experience with Coltrane. Producers also talk about working with "Trane" and his impact, and offer insights into cuts such as the classic tune "Blue Train."

Traneumentary is a thoughtful and well-produced introduction to one of the giants of jazz. It's especially good to have since Coltrane's widow Alice, who managed the Coltrane archive and managed his estate, passes about just a couple of months ago. Alice Coltrane played piano in her husband’s group, and was highly regarded in her own right as a composer and multi-instrumentalist.

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