Famous John Coltrane fans ranging from Carlos Santana to Bill Clinton effusively praise the late saxophonist’s contribution to American music and humanity as a whole, in a montage of clips from Chasing Trane, a new, authorized Coltrane documentary. The film, which premiered September 3rd at the Telluride Film Festival, will screen several times at the Toronto International Film Festival, which kicks off Friday.
“I just thought, ‘Oh, my God, this guy, his mind and his heart is so there in a place that everybody ought to reach for,'” says Clinton in one excerpt. Santana, one of several interviewees in the clip who emphasize the deep spiritual power of Coltrane’s music, likens the saxophonist to “an archangel of the highest order.” The montage also features an account of the writing of Coltrane’s signature album, 1965’s A Love Supreme.
In addition to interviews with Coltrane’s collaborators – including jazz legends McCoy Tyner, Sonny Rollins and Benny Golson – and testimonials from famous fans such as Common, Dr. Cornel West, the Doors’ John Densmore, Wynton Marsalis and Kamasi Washington, Chasing Trane features a wealth of previously unseen footage. Of special interest are Coltrane family home movies and newly discovered footage of the saxophonist and his band in the studio. Denzel Washington lends his voice to the project, reading excerpts of Coltrane interviews. Coltrane recordings from throughout his career will make up the soundtrack.
John Scheinfeld, whose directing credits include 2006’s The U.S. vs. John Lennon and 2010’s Who Is Harry Nilsson (and Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him)?, wrote and directed Chasing Trane. No theatrical release date is currently set.