I should predicate this by stating that I am certainly not qualified to talk about jazz or Africa, I have a hard time just peeing standing up. I might be a bit qualified to talk about Germany, my Grandmothers maiden name is Zimmerman and some parents of a childhood friend use to tell me, “boy, Hitler would have loved you, with your blond hair and blue eyes.”
My 12 year old self could not help but swell up with pride and think, “yeah, Hitler would have loved me!” Then I would have to step back and think more rationally, “You have a small dick, Hitler would have hated your small dick!” Then finally pull myself together, “Who cares what Hitler would have thought about your genitals, or anything else for that matter?!!!—Plus you know you have really cute genitals, like a button.”
Which brings us to today’s album, Africa/Brass by John Coltrane. Coltrane is one of my very favorite musicians, I have mentioned this before but as far as that goes my top three might be Jimi Hendrix, John Coltrane and John Bonham. I think that speaks volumes about Coltrane, I’m not at all what you would call a jazz person but after I heard A Love Supreme I was hooked. A Love Supreme is in my top ten album list of all time on our sister app TriYou—coming soon in the Apple and Google Play stores.
My second favorite offering from Coltrane may just be Africa/Brass, I seem to be a particular sucker for what they call Coltrane’s classic quartet and more particularly Coltrane with drummer Elvin Jones. Africa/Brass starts with the song Africa, one of the best and most powerful jazz tunes I have ever heard. After a few moments you hear the main phrase (I think that is the right term) and it just gets inside you—not like fingers but still a great feeling. Coltrane uses an increased horn section on this album reminding me of something you might have heard from James Brown in the 70s. It works really well here and maybe even better is the percussion. The song goes into an Elvin Jones drum solo (which you will just have to listen to, words won’t do it justice) and comes back out firing the opening phrase again.
Now that you have heard Elvin Jones I know that you love him too so I want to share this great video of him, I really like it when he gets going, it’s almost as if he can’t help himself:
Back to the album. Africa is the whole A side and you can’t get much better than that. The B side is rounded out by Greensleeves, Blues Minor and Song of the Underground Railroad. All great in their own right but the main attraction for me is Africa. I highly suggest you give this one a dedicated listen. I also really like the cover (pictured above) and the fact that Eric Dolphy (featured in Vinyl pull no.6) appears on this album.
I don’t have anything else to add about Hitler, I don’t think there is anything positive to say about him except maybe that he had natural breasts.