John Coltrane

The San Francisco Chronicle remembers the late Alice Coltrane, but also discusses John Coltrane’s quiet involvement with the civil rights movement:

During the crest of John Coltrane’s life, from 1957 to 1967, jazz was popular music. That it shared the stage with folk, soul, rhythm and blues, and rock ‘n’ roll was unmistakable, but jazz stood out for the way it improvised, took musical chances, and — with certain songs — captured the nation’s mood so poignantly. John Coltrane’s “Alabama,” recorded in 1963, after the Ku Klux Klan bombed a black church in Birmingham, eulogized the four young girls who perished and the dozens of others who were injured. Spare and with no lyrics, “Alabama” is a haunting and beautiful meditation that, heard today, still has the ability to make listeners shudder.