I don't have kids, but if I did have kids I would be reading them Gary Golio's new book Spirit Seeker: John Coltrane's Musical Journey. As soon as I saw this book I new I had to have it, even without kids. The illustrations are stunning and fairly psychedelic. The story is about Coltrane's triumph over drug and alcohol addiction and his spiritual journey to create music that would bring happiness and healing to listeners. Golio is also an addiction counselor for teens, so I would guess that he wanted to present young inner city kids with a model for overcoming addiction through art and spirituality. Trane's drug problems are not a major theme in this book for youngsters, but it is worth mentioning.
Here is an excerpt from the afterward:
"Music and religion were the twin forces that shaped John Coltrane's early years. Both of his grandfathers were Methodist ministers, and each of his parents was a skilled musician.
In North Carolina during the 1930s, the church was the center of black community life. At a time when discrimination was widespread, the church offered comfort, hope, and guidance. One way it did this was through music...
Perhaps more than any other jazz musician, John Coltrane let his religious feelings guide and inspire his work. Of his recovery from drug use, he wrote, 'During the year 1957, I experienced, by the grace of God, a spiritual awakening which was to lead me to a richer, fuller, more productive life. At that time, in gratitude, I humbly asked to be given the means and privilege to make others happy through music.'
It was his commitment to sobriety for the last ten years of his life that allowed him to pursue his vision and to create some of the most enduring music in the field of jazz."
" Sometimes, when you've lost almost everything as a child, a lifeline appears that restores your faith and re-ignites your spirit. For John Coltrane, that lifeline was the saxophone, and the musical dreams it inspired. Spirit Seeker - John Coltrane's Musical Journey (Clarion/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) captures John's struggle from lost boy to musical leader, from darkness to light. In words and images that reflect the depth of John's joy as well as his yearning for inner peace, Spirit Seeker tells the story of how art and spirituality shaped one man's talents and gave him the courage to share those gifts with the world. It's a uniquely American tale that touches on race, jazz, religion and redemption (from addiction), the power of Art, and how John's early difficulties fueled his unique vision of the Divine (A Love Supreme). Like my previous books on Jimi Hendrix (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, NY Times bestseller) and Bob Dylan (Little, Brown), Spirit Seeker is meant to introduce a new generation of listeners to a great musical creator and his story."
I love this book and if you do have kids that you are planning to introduce to Trane's A Love Supreme at some point then you do need to buy this book.
Spirit Seeker: John Coltrane's Musical Journey