Chasing Trane; The John Coltrane Documentary (2016)
This ninety-minute documentary about the jazz saxophonist John Coltrane (1926–1967) tells the inspirational story of one of the greatest musical geniuses of his generation. Coltrane's story begins in Hamlet, North Carolina, where both of his grandfathers were pastors. That historically racist context and deeply spiritual family combined to find expression in Coltrane's jazz, which was nothing more and nothing less than a musical medium in search of what is eternally good, true, and beautiful. One of the special treats of this movie is how it explores Coltrane's pronounced spirituality. To take just one example, from the cover of his famous album A Love Supreme, Coltrane wrote, "May we never forget that in the sunshine of our lives, through the storm and after the rain — it is all with God — in all ways and forever. ALL PRAISE TO GOD." Coltrane's story is told by the memories and reflections of many people, against the background sound track of his music: family, friends, band mates, and music critics. My favorites were Carlos Santana, the Princeton philosopher Cornell West, Wynton Marsalis, Bill Clinton, and John Densmore (the drummer for the Doors). Coltrane died all too soon at the age of forty from liver cancer.