Friday, October 17, 2008

John Coltrane and the Face of God

Listening to Coltrane's Settin' the Pace this morning. It's not one of his greatest hits and even the various jazz cd review books give it second tier status, but I really enjoyed it. "I See Your Face Before Me" is the lead track, an exquisite ballad that, I humbly believe, outshines the more famous "I Want to Talk About You" from Soultrane.

Still, saying this or that by Coltrane is better than this or that by Coltrane seems trivial and, frankly, beside the point (much like I found Ben Ratliff's book on Coltrane's sound). These are just opinions, after all, and vanity moreover. Who cares what you/I think about any particular work by this man? It's a mixture of hero-worship and elevation-by-association that frankly demeans the opiner by revealing a lamentable failure to listen.

I read an interview with Matisyahu once in which he pointed to the number of love songs out there as an indication of how much people are yearning for the love of God. Coltane's commitment to God makes me hear his ballads in the same way. The face he sees before him, is the face of God. The "you" he wants to talk about is You, My Lord.

Is all love the love of God? Should it be?

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