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“Trane Tracks: The Legacy of John Coltrane” is a 78-minute
film that chronicles the life of saxophone great John Coltrane
(1926-1967), complete with lengthy clips of his performances
of some of his most famous songs. These include two versions
of “Impressions” and “My Favorite Things,” which feature
Eric Dolphy (1928-1964) in one version of each of these
songs. Other tunes included are “Afro Blue,” “Naima” and
“Alabama,” among others.

The chronological narration touches upon key events in
Coltrane’s musical development through discussion and
interviews with key musicians, including trumpeter Benny Bailey
and drummer Eddie Marshall. Other contributors include pianist
McCoy Tyner, a member of Coltrane’s classic quartet from
1961 to 1965.

While most, if not all of the generous musical clips were
available elsewhere, I was satisfied that they were included
within this narrative. The highlights of this Jazz giant’s
musical career were documented and I was also treated to
archival footage of various other Jazz greats, such as
Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, and Charlie Parker.

On the other hand, I could have done without the “bookends” of
this documentary, consisting of clips from a church service,
conducted by Bishop Franzo King of the African Orthodox
Church of Saint John Coltrane. It’s interesting to learn that
Coltrane inspired a particular religious “sect,” but I believe
that the Bishop’s lack of eloquence and tendency to ramble
does this film a disservice.

In addition, the back of the DVD cover states that the running
time of this disc is approximately 80 minutes. While the special
features are mentioned, their running times are not provided
on the cover; therefore, the viewer has no indication of the
time commitment required to view the entire disc. Under normal
circumstances, this wouldn’t be a problem. However, the special
features alone run an additional 86 minutes, with 26 minutes
devoted to Bishop King’s ramblings, much of which does not
directly pertain to John Coltrane. Bishop King stated that he
received a “Baptism of Sound” from John Coltrane, which
inspired him to found this special “offshoot” of the African
Orthodox Church. The remaining 60 minutes of exclusive
interviews include 30 minutes with McCoy Tyner, 24 minutes
with Eddie Marshall and six minutes with Benny Bailey. Of
these contributions, I found Tyner’s input to be the most
valuable, because he worked directly with John Coltrane
and knew him best.

In addition to the aforementioned interviews, the back cover
of this DVD indicated that Ron Carter and fellow Coltrane
band member, drummer Elvin Jones, were also granted
exclusive interviews. They were not on the DVD, and I was
disappointed with this error. Therefore, even the statement
on the front of the cover,  “…featuring revealing
interviews with McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones…” is only
partially accurate.

Nevertheless, this is a generously filled disc, albeit with a
lot of the aforementioned “padding” in the bonus features.
I would have preferred longer segments with Ron Carter and
Elvin Jones, as their segments are minuscule clips in the main
body of the 78-minute film. Suffice it to say that the interview
footage with Carter and Jones falls far short of the generous,
exclusive treatment that is publicized. I still believe that
“Trane Tracks: The Legacy of John Coltrane” is a worthwhile DVD;
however, the wraparound cover and/or DVD sleeve need
revision. This 2005 release by the EFORFILMS label is a part
of their “Jazz Movie Classics” series.

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