Home / A&E / Books / Spirit Seeker: John Coltrane’s Musical Journey (Clarion Books), by Gary Golio and Rudy Gutierrez

Spirit Seeker: John Coltrane’s Musical Journey (Clarion Books), by Gary Golio and Rudy Gutierrez

Nov. 30, 2012
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With A Love Supreme, John Coltrane wrote and recorded one of the most memorable and moving compositions to come out of jazz. The great saxophonist offered A Love Supreme (1965) as a prayer, and while his music and memory have lingered in this world, Coltrane was soon gone. He died in 1967 at age 40, his life probably shortened by drug and alcohol abuse in his 20s. But as the authors of Spirit Seeker are quick to add, he was clean through the last years of his life, his time of greatest achievement.

The biography in words and pictures, written by Gary Golio and illustrated by Rudy Gutierrez, is intended for older children. Many pages are devoted to Coltrane’s childhood, which began happily and collapsed with the death of his father and grandfather and his mother’s northward trek to find work. He was left behind with the consolation of music and alcohol, which eventually led to heroin as he pursued his muse into the edgier jazz pioneered by his hero, Charlie Parker.

Aside from writing a bestselling biography of Jimi Hendrix, Golilo is an addiction counselor for teens, so much emphasis is placed on Coltrane’s descent into drugs and rebirth. The other theme of Spirit Seeker is Coltrane’s religious quest, which began with his Methodist upbringing and traveled across a loss of faith into what became a lifelong quest for the essence behind all great religions. Golio’s vivid prose is accompanied by Gutierrez’s colorful and generously proportioned illustrations.


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