In the August 21 Wall Street Journal, Nat Hentoff tells of a New York second grade teacher, Christine Pasarella, who uses John Coltrane as a classroom role model in her work of drawing out the intelligence of her students. He reports Mrs. Pasarella saying that when she played Coltrane’s recordings…
“…the children were drawn to the range of feelings in the songs as I gave them the backgrounds of the compositions.
“‘Alabama,’ for example, was about Martin Luther King and racial discrimination; and while ‘My Own True Love’ concerned a man and a woman, John Coltrane’s ‘Love Supreme’ expressed a love for humanity.”
This reminded me that in one of my conversations with Coltrane he said he was searching for the sounds of what Buddhists call “Om,” which he described as the universal essence of all of us in the universe. He also told me regretfully, “I’ll never know what the listeners feel from my music, and that’s too bad.”
Ms. Passarella’s second-grade students, she says, would have told him how moved they were by not only the ballads “but the more avant-garde recordings, such as ‘Interstellar Space.’” She notes that, through her teaching, “I have discovered that young children have open, welcoming minds, and the more pure and emotional the music, the more they connect. Soon they were hooked on John Coltrane’s music.”
When the students learned that Coltrane’s home was not far from their school, they became even more interested. To read all of Hentoff’s column, click here.
All About Jazz reports that Against The Tide, the documentary about alto saxophonist Bud
Shank, has won a major film making award. Rifftides discussed the film in April. From the AAJ story:
The Telly Awards honor the very best local, regional, and cable television commercials and programs, as well as the finest video and film productions, and work created for the Web.
To read it all, go here.