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'To Blow into that Freezing Night': John Coltrane’s ‘Sheets of Sound’ and the Actualization of a Dissentient Potential
2005 (English)In: Presented at: The Living Thought of Gilles Deleuze, Copenhagen Business School, 2005Conference paper, Presentation (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The mode of improvisation, which Coltrane developed in the late 1950’s for a short period with his own band into the early 1960s, comprised a particular technique where scales are played very fast, over rapid chord changes and advanced substitutions, so that it appears as if entire scales, all possible combinations and variations, are played simultaneously, in a ferocious tempo, rupturing, opening up, both harmonic and rhythmic lines and patterns to a wider field of potential.

This proposed paper takes this mode of improvisation – what Ira Girtler once referred to as Coltrane’s ‘sheets of sound’ – as its point of departure and attempts to explore it in terms of the actualization of virtual potentials within the context both of Coltrane’s later developments in modal and free form jazz, and the historical and socio-political situation in the USA at the time, which saw the emergence of more radical and militant forms of left-wing and civil rights activism. Drawing upon the writing of Spinoza, in particular the relation between the two notions of substantia and potentia, and some of the ideas around virtuality and actualization put forth by Deleuze and Guattari, the paper attempts to link Coltrane’s music to this socio-political terrain not by means of interpretation or historical determination, but by delineating the site of an expanded aesthetics, operating through the virtual, through the actualization of virtual potentials, which is inexorably, albeit at times not obviously, linked also to a radical ethical and political program.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2005.
Keyword [en]
John Coltrane, Deleuze and Guattari, Spinoza, politics, music
National Category
Music Literary Composition Philosophy
Research subject
Humanities, Creative writing; Humanities, Music; Social Sciences, Practical Philosophy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-55664OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-55664DiVA: diva2:954121
Conference
The Living Thought of Gilles Deleuze, Copenhagen Business School
Available from: 2016-08-20 Created: 2016-08-20 Last updated: 2016-09-15Bibliographically approved

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Permanent link

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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf