TH (August 25,1945 / Plainwell, Michigan)

Teachers

They were teachers

Those colossal masters of the saxophone
Taking us from the center of the universe
To the ends of space and time
and back again
To teach us the meaning of existence

Existential obbligatos
Cascading colors like splinters of light
Shifting tapestries of tone and rhythm

Harmonic structures hypnotically layered
Over tonal centers like sheets of sound
That pierced the night with the cry of the blues
And taught us the meaning of spirit

Agony and ecstasy
The music taught us both
Of happiness and of sadness
Of sin as well as salvation
That you have to be brave
That you have to be tender

Like a mantra from the East
Like a wise and holy man
John Coltrane took the music all the way
From the nightclub to the ashram
Proving the universality of the form
And transforming jazz into the
Art of transcendental improvisation

Though I never met the man
When I say that John Coltrane was my father
It is because he taught me of life as well as music

He taught us all that there is something greater
Beyond just ourselves to live for

That one man no matter how humble
By the process of purification and
Dedication to an ideal

Can find his way from the confusion
Of hopelessness and dereliction

To the cosmic.

They were teachers.

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