In commemoration of what would have been John Coltrane’s 86th birthday on 9/23/12, John Robinson and Pat Van Dyke are dropping a track entitled “Miles & Trane” from their forthcoming album on 45. “We just really did the song in commemoration to them both. I felt like it was a cool idea just because it’s been 45 years since his passing and still today he is one of the cats that people know most when you even say “jazz music” all over the world.”

How did this track come about?

PVD: It originated from a beat I just had lying around. I had John Robinson come to the studio and he laid down the three verses and then I kind of had the idea of getting some horn players to do an instrumental hook. Then JR put some “Milles and Trane” sound bites over that. But I thought it would be dope to musically line it up with what’s happening in the context of the song by having a trumpet player and a tenor player. This was the first track we did actually for a forthcoming record we’re working on. We both agreed that it set the tone for what the content was going to be and the style of the forthcoming record.

As for myself, I was trained as a jazz musician, but I was always into hip-hop. So meeting JR four or five years ago and him being the type of cat that he is having all of this knowledge of jazz, but being a hip-hop artist, we immediately clicked. I geek out on that type of stuff. So to have somebody involved in the music that really wants to inform the audience about jazz musicians as opposed to what everybody else rhymes about, is really refreshing.

JR, you also did “The Lee Morgan Story” recently in tribute to Lee Morgan. Is this track similar in style to that one?

JR: It’s a totally different vibe. “The Lee Morgan Story” is more audio-biographical. This Miles and Trane song is more of a collage. It’s taking references, titles, instances in history from both of their careers, and connecting them together in the verses. Certain things the average person will just hear as a rap song, but if you’re a jazz head and you know anything about Miles and Trane, you’ll hear all of the references and be able to piece together who’s who. I didn’t separate it. I kind of did it like a collage referring to both of them like they’re the same person in a sense and including myself in there too. There’s a reference where I mention how “in his heart he plays horn, but truthfully in the real world he rips microphones.” So that would be me. But then at the same time I’m making references to critics in the crowd feeling a certain way about him playing with his back to the crowd and ridiculing him for that. So different references like that make it a collage. I want to raise awareness to people who might not know their great legacy. That’s why I do these songs, mostly, to inspire young people who are more attached to the hip-hop generation to go back and learn about some of their music history that came before hip-hop even started.

What impact did Trane have on your personal musical journey?

PVD: I was always into him growing up because you hear peoples’ names and you check it out. Then you go back to it many years later and you have a better understanding of it. In high school I’d always listen to the Miles Davis records of the ‘50s quintet and a bunch of Coltrane. But it wasn’t really until I was in college that I got a little more in-depth to Coltrane’s music and some of the later stuff including A Love Supreme and all the stuff after that. His influence on jazz and on saxophone players in general is immense. There is nobody who picks up the tenor saxophone in the jazz world and can’t have some influence from John Coltrane. He’s a monster force as far as soloing and compositionally and his whole being as a musician. I think he’s an undeniable influence on anybody who plays jazz or picks up the saxophone or any instrument for that matter.

JR: Trane had a lot of impact. Originally it was typical I must admit in the sense that I heard A Love Supreme and attached myself to that just because of the stories I would hear about it and just because it was one of his more popular pieces. It wasn’t until I read a book by an author named Frank Kofsky named “John Coltrane and the 1960s Jazz Revolution.” It really attached me to the music because reading that book just hearing and referring to the different album titles forced me to dig up the music. I feel like what it did for me was it allowed me to not only learn the music, but it attached me to the scenarios and the pain and the instances that created the music in a sense that now I’m learning about his life and what he was going through and what was going on in the world. A lot of the riots, a lot of the civil rights stuff, and a lot of the stuff that he was experiencing particularly as a young black man who was brilliant with the saxophone. He was travelling all over bringing people together with music at a time when people coming together wasn’t always a great thing in every part of the world. Even the most creative, painful song came out and was brilliantly beautiful. He channeled energy.

Then I also learned that when he came in, the music was changing from that bebop era where people were livelier and dancing to the music to when he came in it became more of a thought provoking sit-down-and-listen and reflect type of music. That time set the pace for where jazz is today.

Pat Van Dyke’s Top Coltrane Album:

Crescent

John Robinson’s Top 5 Coltrane Trakcs:

“My Favorite Things”
“Naima”
“A Love Supreme”
“Ascension”
“Impressions”

JR & PVD are releasing the record on 45 and it is available for pre-order HERE.

Also check out the B-Side “Kiss the Sky”:

Pat Van Dyke Online:  www.PVDMusic.com 
John Robinson Online: www.thejohnrobinsonproject.com

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