Angel of Harlem

Collaborative work by Warhol and Basquiat, featuring a Basquiat’s painted depiction of Billie Holiday

 
 

Angel of Harlem is a song by Irish rock group U2. It was released in December 1988 as the second single from their album, Rattle and Hum.  Written as a homage to Billie Holiday, it was released with two different B-sides; one was an original U2 song called A Room at the Heartbreak Hotel, while the other was a live version of Rattle and Hum‘s Love Rescue Me.

The lyrical content of the song refers to various New York City-area landmarks, including JFK airport, WBLS radio and Harlem. It also refers to jazz-related history including John Coltrane and A Love Supreme, Birdland club, Miles Davis and Holiday herself (“Lady Day”).

Angel of Harlem was written during 1987’s Joshua Tree Tour and the in-studio performance on the Rattle and Hum movie dates from a recording session at Sun Studio in Memphis, Tennessee during the later stages of the tour’s third leg. The song was a regular on 1989’s Lovetown Tour and was played with B.B. King‘s band.

The song has also been performed on 2009’s 360° Tour with dedications to Michael Jackson,  and included snippets of Man in the Mirror and Don’t Stop ’til You Get Enough. In the Berlin concert of the 360° Tour three young fans from Prague, Czech Republic, held signs asking to play Angel of Harlem together with U2, Bono invited them to the stage, the band lent them the instruments and they played the song together.

 
 

To listen to this song, please take a gander at The Genealogy of Style‘s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Genealogy-of-Style/597542157001228?ref=hl

Advertisements

In Music I Trust

James Joseph Marshall

 
 

“I love all the musicians – they’re like family. Looking back I realize I was there at the beginning of something special, I’m like a historian. There’s an honesty about this work that I’m proud of. It feels good to think, my God, I really captured something amazing.”

 

Jim Marshall (1936-2010) was born in Chicago and moved to San Francisco with his family when he was only two years old. There in the City by the Bay he remained during his lifetime. A Brownie camera was one of his first toys. Later he bought a Leica when he was in high school. After coming back from the serving in the Air Force, Marshall met John Coltrane. One day, while he was photographing backstage at the Jazz Workshop in San Francisco in 1960, Coltrane asked him for directions to Berkeley. “He asked me for directions to a club,” Marshall said later. “I told him I’d pick him up and take him there if he’d let me take his picture.” This way the visual linkage between Marshall and the best jazz and rock performers was strengthened.

 
 

John Coltrane

 
 

Thelonious Monk & Allen Gingsberg

 
 

Ray Charles

 
 

Miles Davis

 
 

63 marshall

Miles Davies & Steve McQueen

 
 

The Beatles

 
 

The Rolling Stones

 
 

Jimi Hendrix

 
 

Janis Joplin

 
 

Grace Slick

 
 

Jefferson Airplane

 
 

Jim Morrison

 
 

Led Zeppelin

 
 

Alice Cooper

 
 

The Who

 
 

Bob Dylan

 
 

Johnny Cash & June Carter

 
 

John Lennon

Coltrane as A Religious Figure

“Let us sing all songs to God.

Let us pursue Him in the righteous path. Yes it is true: “Seek and ye shall find”

 
 

Coltrane icon at St. John Coltrane African Orthodox Church

 
 

After John Coltrane‘s death, a congregation called the Yardbird Temple in San Francisco began worshipping him as God incarnate. The group was named after Charlie Parker, whom they equated to John the Baptist. The congregation later became affiliated with the African Orthodox Church; this involved changing Coltrane’s status from a god to a saint. The resultant St. John Coltrane African Orthodox Church, San Francisco is the only African Orthodox church that incorporates Coltrane’s music and his lyrics as prayers in its liturgy.

Samuel G. Freedman wrote in a New York Times article that “the Coltrane church is not a gimmick or a forced alloy of nightclub music and ethereal faith. Its message of deliverance through divine sound is actually quite consistent with Coltrane’s own experience and message.” Freedman also commented on Coltrane’s place in the canon of American music:

In both implicit and explicit ways, Coltrane also functioned as a religious figure. Addicted to heroin in the 1950s, he quit cold turkey, and later explained that he had heard the voice of God during his anguishing withdrawal. […] In 1966, an interviewer in Japan asked Coltrane what he hoped to be in five years, and Coltrane replied, “A saint.”

Coltrane is depicted as one of the 90 saints in the Dancing Saints icon of St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church in San Francisco. The icon is a 3,000-square-foot (280 m2) painting in the Byzantine iconographic style that wraps around the entire church rotunda. It was executed by Mark Dukes, an ordained deacon at the Saint John Coltrane African Orthodox Church, who painted other icons of Coltrane for the Coltrane Church.[43] Saint Barnabas Episcopal Church in Newark, New Jersey included Coltrane on their list of historical black saints and made a “case for sainthood” for him in an article on their former website.

Documentaries on Coltrane and the church include Alan Klingenstein‘s The Church of Saint Coltrane (1996), and a 2004 program presented by Alan Yentob for the BBC.

A Love Supreme


Cover photo by Bob Thiele

 
 

A Love Supreme is a studio album recorded by John Coltrane‘s quartet in December 1964 and released by Impulse! Records in February 1965. It is generally considered to be among Coltrane’s greatest works, as it melded the hard bop sensibilities of his early career with the modal jazz and free jazz styles he adopted later.

The album is a four-part suite, broken up into tracks: Acknowledgement (which contains the mantra that gave the suite its name), Resolution, Pursuance, and Psalm. It is intended to be a spiritual album, broadly representative of a personal struggle for purity, and expresses the artist’s deep gratitude as he admits to his talent and instrument as being owned not by him but by a spiritual higher power. Coltrane plays exclusively tenor on all parts.

The album begins with the bang of a gong (tam-tam), followed by cymbal washes. Jimmy Garrison follows on bass with the four-note motif which structures the entire movement. Coltrane’s solo follows. Besides soloing upon variations of the motif, at one point Coltrane repeats the four notes over and over in different modulations. After many repetitions, the motif becomes the vocal chant A Love Supreme, sung by Coltrane (accompanying himself via overdubs).

In the final movement, Coltrane performs what he calls a “musical narration” (Lewis Porter describes it as a “wordless ‘recitation'”) of a devotional poem he included in the liner notes. That is, Coltrane “plays” the words of the poem on saxophone, but does not actually speak them. Some scholars have suggested that this performance is a homage to the sermons of African-American preachers. The poem (and, in his own way, Coltrane’s solo) ends with the cry “Elation. Elegance. Exaltation. All from God. Thank you God. Amen.”

A Love Supreme is often listed amongst the greatest jazz albums of all time It was also quite popular for a jazz album, selling about 500,000 copies by 1970, a number far exceeding Coltrane’s typical Impulse! sales of around 30,000. As further testimony to the recording’s historic significance, the manuscript for the album is one of the National Museum of American History’s “Treasures of American History,” part of the collection of the Smithsonian Institution.

The album’s influence has been extensive and diverse. Musicians ranging from tenor Joshua Redman guitarists John McLaughlin and Carlos Santana have each credited the album as one of their greatest early influences.

The Same Rediscovery of Individual Soul’s

“The influence was that originality of taking the materials from your own existence rather than taking on hand-me-down poetic materials, speech units, rhythmic units and trying to adapt your life to them – you articulate your rhythm, your own rhythms. The concept of that led, in the ‘forties, to Abstract Expressionist painting and (Willem) de Kooning and (Franz) Kline, it led, in music, to Ornette Colman and all, and uh.. who was a teacher there? – the guy who died two [actually, four] years ago – John Coltrane. It was the same rediscovery of individual soul’s impulse that led into Coltrane.”

Allen Ginsberg
In Partisan Review, in 1971, (speaking of William Carlos Williams)

 
 

Patti Smith photographed by Danny Clinch, 2000

 
 

To watch a documentary short chronicling the influence John Coltrane has had on other musicians, please take a gander at The Genealogy of Style‘s Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Genealogy-of-Style/597542157001228?ref=hl