I’m sure you’re all familiar with the out of this world producer that is Flying Lotus. His four albums have all been received to critical acclaim and his experimental nature has cemented him as one of electronic music’s greats. What many of you might not know is that his musical abilities didn’t just appear out of nowhere but he actually comes from a family consisting of some of the greatest musicians of all time. As the grandnephew of John and Alice Coltrane, two of Jazz music’s most prolific artists, you could say it was in his blood.
Jazz pianist, harpist and composer Alice Coltrane, the lesser known but by no means lesser skilled of the couple, really touched me with this incredible recording.
Her entire body of work is pure bliss. Another personal favourite of mine is Blue Nile in which she worked with a brilliant flutist. When you listen to Flying Lotus, you can really hear how he was influenced not only by jazz as a whole but particularly by the harp and piano work of his great aunt.
Often referred to as one of the greatest saxophonists ever to have lived, John Coltrane truly is a master and legend. He is undeniably one of the major influences of all preceding generations of saxophonists and his legacy will certainly be felt in generations to come. He has not only influenced jazz musicians but has impacted on music itself and so was worthy to receive the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award posthumously.
As a former and future but not current saxophonist, I’ve always been inspired by jazz. I recently began to hit a dead end with electronic music and so took a step back and began looking into some of the more traditional styles of sonic vibration such as soul, funk and, inevitably, jazz. The genre has always been close to my heart with artists like Miles Davis and Mr Coltrane being two of my favourites. Admittedly I’m not the most knowledgeable jazz fanatic but I appreciate the art fully. After listening to other styles I reintroduced electronic music back into my life and, with my wider musical understanding, I found I could appreciate it more than ever.
In this day and age most young people limit themselves to certain musical styles, their tastes shaped and moulded by their peers and by what society deems as ‘cool’. This pressure and mono-mindedness can make music grow stagnant and mundane and it is only when we start to broaden our horizons that we begin to learn that there is a whole world of art out there that we might never have otherwise considered. Not only is it there to be enjoyed but it is undoubtedly the source of inspiration for many of your favourite artists.
My advice, just try something different, open your eyes, branch out and lap up the delights that the past has to offer. Who knows, you might just like it.