My previous post began with a story about a performance by John Coltrane. Douglas Groothuis left a comment saying that he used the same story in his book Truth Decay. Before telling the Coltrane story, Groothuis compares the philosophies of Kenny G and John Coltrane.
Kenny G’s philosophy is as shallow as his music.
I just play for myself, the way I want to play, and it comes out sounding like me.
Coltrane’s philosophy, like his music, is more ambitious.
Overall, I think the main thing a musician would like to do is give a picture to the listener of the many wonderful things he knows and senses in the universe. That’s what music is to me — it’s just another way of saying this is a big, wonderful universe we live in, that’s been given to us, and here’s an example of just how magnificent and encompassing it is. That’s what I would like to do. I think that’s one of the greatest things you can do in life, and we all try to do it in some way. The musician’s is through his music.
As Groothuis comments, Kenny G only spoke of expressing himself, while Coltrane “expressed a yearning to represent objective realities musically.”