Entries tagged with “Sonny Rollins”.

A revolution took place by the mid of the 20th century in American and world music. Jazz, which was until then music for mostly dance and mass entertainment split its ways into several distinct currents, giving birth to rock and roll, to soul, to rhythm and blues. Yes, I know this presentation is quite a simplistic view, but at that time, while other genres were taking up in entertainment dominating the hit parades, radio programs and TV shows, jazz itself evolved to a much more sophisticated form of expression. A bunch of post-WWII jazz musicians changed and developed the sound of jazz making and blew up its boundaries. Among them, together with Charlie Parker and Miles Davies, one of the most important was John Coltrane. “Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary” is dedicated to his life, music and legacy. These exceptional artists toured the world and made of jazz a universal art and one of the greatest contributions of America to the culture of the world.





The documentary written and directed by is built on a pattern used by many musical documentary films. It follows closely the life and biography of the artists, uses images filmed and recorded in concerts to illustrate his music, gathers testimonies from family, from jazz fans and experts, from the artists who worked with Coltrane and who came later and were influenced by him. Family members tell about the man he was (moving testimonies by his two step-daughters) and his personal life not avoiding the crisis related to drugs and faith. Musicians who played with him or who came after him talk about his music, and this was the part I valued most (including people like , , , , ). An interesting segments speaks about his tour to Japan (his last) and the special relationship he had with this country. Coltrane seems to not have left any filmed interview, or the makers of this film did not have access to it, but he left quite a lot of memorable quotes and written stories about his life and music, which are read by . The actor (who does not appear in the film) bears actually an amazing physical resemblance with Coltrane, so if there ever (or soon) will be a feature film about him, he is the best candidate for the lead role. It is music however that speaks best, and if you have the chance to watch this film and listen to the soundtrack in a cinema with good audio conditions, it will be a win. It’s not a ground-shaking documentary film, but it’s a complete and respectful homage to one of the greatest musicians in history, a man who in a rather short life and career changed the course of music taking it into new territories.

The full film (which I have seen yesterday at the EPOS art films festival in Tel Aviv) is available on youTube at


(video source Repórter Lata)






It’s the eve of Yom Kippur and the Jewish world prepares for the fasting and the prayers. As I start to build a tradition also for the Jewish holidays on ‘The Catcher in the Sand’ here are a few works of art and pieces of music inspired by The Day of Atonement, as well as youTube clips related to the way Yom Kippur is happening in Israel.



(source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gottlieb-Jews_Praying_in_the_Synagogue_on_Yom_Kippur.jpg)


One of the most famous paintings inspired by Yom Kippur is ‘Jews Praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur’ by the Jewish Galician painter Maurycy Gottlieb. The gathering of the Jews in the synagogue, their passion to prayer, the overall atmosphere has both historical accuracy as well as a timeliness that crosses the centuries.


(source http://www.judaicaposters.com/pages/jp303.html)

Here is another work inspired by Yom Kippur painted by the Hungarian-born painter Isidor Kaufmann.


(video source rebezra)


Today in Israel the traditions differ from the different communities that returned from exile. In Jerusalem Sephardic community a month of Slikhot (Forgiveness) prayers culminate in the eve on Yom Kippur (by the time I am writing this blog entry) with a huge gathering and a community prayer at the Western Wall.


(video source damcenenroe)


You may know one of the famous songs of Leonard Cohen  ‘Who by Fire’. Here is a version recorded with the great jazz saxophonist Sony Rollins in 1989.


(video source jordannnnnn)


The song is actually an adaptation of a Yom Kippur prayer. Here it is in another version sang by Leonard Cohen, with the Hebrew and English words.


(video source Bigratus)


The most famous text related to Yom Kippur is Kol Nidre, the declaration of repentance and the pledge taken at the opening of the service in the synagogue. In the traditional service the text is in Aramaic. It inspired a number of musical pieces. A traditional variant is featured in the first spoken (and sang) film The Jazz Singer (1927) by Al Jolson (Asa Yoelon). The story of the song in the famous film is described in a New York Times article.


(video source lynnharrell)


The Kol Nidrei for cello & orchestra, Op. 47, Composed by Max Bruch is the most famous classical music variant. Last year I brought here the splendid interpretation of Jacqueline du Pres, here is another exquisite rendering by Lynn Harrell at the Papal Concert to commemorate the Holocaust as the Vatican in Rome on April 7, 1994.


(video source rapunzelrow)


On a lighter note, not everybody fasts and prays on Yom Kippur in Israel.  As traffic completely stops kids on bicycles (and not only kids) take control of the streets for one full day.


Gmar Hatima Tova – May you be inscribed (in the Book of Life) for Good