Spirits of the Songs
Out of This Wolrd mp3 sample clip
Out of This World is an old Harold Arlen composition that John Coltrane rearranged for his first recording session on Impulse Records. When I first listened to this version at about age 15, it really turned me onto the avant-garde movement of the 1960s. He played the song with such honesty that I thought it to be a beautiful, precious thing. You could really hear his band opening up to new, futuristic methods for playing jazz.
Two teachers I studied under when I lived in New York City are David S. Ware and Charles Gayle. Both musicians were really interested in this era of Coltrane’s career. David has mentioned in interviews that this version of Out of This World was one of the first things to open him up to spirituality in general. Charles was more interested in the statements Trane made on the Transition and Meditation albums. Both men were very influenced by this early Impulse album of Coltrane.
A lot of the avant-garde players list Coltrane as there main influence. Yet so do more mainstream players. The years from 1955 to 1967 were a time of tremendous stylistic growth for Coltrane. People say that he grew more during those 12 years than some master musicians grow during a life-long career. Each album he recorded built off the previous one.
I use to walk in the World Trade Center listening to this album of Coltrane on my headphones. It was on Fridays during 2000 and 2001 when I use to take the New Jersey bound PATH train to make my lesson with Ware. I would go to the Citibank ATMs in 1 World Trade Center and then proceed to the underground train station. Trane’s self titled album was the perfect listening music for those days.
My favorite period of Coltrane is the Impulse years. He made so many great records for that label. Out of this World was the perfect opener to what would be a time of spiritual enlightenment for Coltrane. It was the coming attraction to what would take place on A Love Supreme, Transition, and Meditations. You can hear how he begins to open up to new soloing techniques right when he begins to improvise on this song. I had the same state-of-mind when I performed it as well.