John Coltrane Ascension Double Bill

Oct 22, 2013

Director in attendance!

Work-in-progress screening!

John Coltrane's Ascension was called, “the most powerful human sound ever recorded" in Down Beat Magazine in 1965, and "the most vexatious work in jazz history" by jazz critic Gary Giddins. These contradictory claims indicate just how controversial this music was at the time Coltrane recorded it. Ascension in fact still causes arguments; the ideas behind the music are still alive and making waves today. All the more reason to rejoice in Electric Ascension, reincarnated for the 21st century in live performance by the large, fluctuating ensemble "Orkestrova." This program features a concert film performance of Ascension, as re-imagined by the Sax quartet Rova, plus a behind-the-scenes look at how the performance came together.  This is a work-in-progress screening.

Electric Ascension, Live at the Guelph Jazz Festival 
(John Rogers, USA, 2013, Blu-ray, 68 min)
Famed for its scale and raw emotional power, John Coltrane’s 1965 recording Ascension has been re-imagined and rearranged for live performance by an all-star ensemble of improvisers, led by the Rova Saxophone Quartet. 

Cleaning the Mirror 
(John Rogers, USA, 2013, Blu-ray, 45 min)
This documentary explores the musical history and creative process behind Electric Ascension. Shot at jazz festivals in Paris and Saalfelden (Austria), musicians speak about their inspiration, their approach to the music and their connection to Coltrane. Among those interviewed are Nels Cline, Andrew Cyrille, Art Davis, Jason Kao Hwang, Eyvind Kang, Rova, Jenny Scheinman and Elliot Sharp. The film includes musical excerpts, archival photos and behind-the-scenes footage.

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