John Coltrane said:

John Coltrane said:

“you can play a shoestring if you are sincere”

That’s exactly what I mean in that post entitled Sincerity is Freedom where I said that the sincere artist can only produce good art.

The real issue is; how can one be sincere? That’s what I’m interested in. That’s what I want to achieve. Its not about ‘not lying’. No no no. Its about knowing which parts of one’s thinking are just ‘noise’, and then starving those parts of attention.

Its not about finding the sincerity, its about discarding/brushing aside the insincerity. The sincerity is always there, just hidden by other stuff.

Is it possible for an artwork to tap into that sincerity without the mind consciously trying to discard the noise? Maybe it is possible through meditation … John Coltrane style: A Love Supreme. See below.

Oh John, I miss that part of my life where I believed I would one day be able to play like you did.

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3 Responses to John Coltrane said:

  1. rukidnaomerchant says:

    Just get your horn repaired and those days need not be lost.

    One way of thinking about sincerity in improvisation that is framed by Coltrane’s quip might be this: have the courage to try and play the most imaginative thing you hear in your head, and that approach will force you to surpass all those phrases living in your muscle memory, which I think are the basis of insincere improvisation.

    • I wish I could get my horn repaired! Dont have the cash.

      You are dead right about the pervasiveness of muscle memory. Actually, that’s why I stopped playing … it all just became a struggle against the muscle memory.

      I’d say that its just one aspect of insincere playing though … there’s also the motivators behind what you play. Are the motivators sincere?

      But yeah, if John says you can play a shoestring if you are sincere, then he is emphasising that it is less about technique and more about the sincerity.

      • rukidnaomerchant says:

        Time away from the instrument is the best cleansing agent for muscle memory. It didn’t take me long to get basic chops — finger/lip synchronisations, evennes of phrasing — back for the gig with Kraig, but had forgotten all those stock phrases I had developed. Also, when I found myself playing those phrases accidentally, they immediately sounded tedious, and easy to weed out.

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