Brooklyn troupe Urban Bush Women celebrates its 30th year with jazz icon John Coltrane's reawakening.
John Coltrane's 1964 album A Love Supreme
was the product of some major soul-searching. In 1957, when the jazz icon was still battling heroin addiction and alcohol, he famously got booted from Miles Davis's band. Chastened, the great saxophonist kicked his drug habit, attributing his sobriety to a newfound faith in God—hence the name of his subsequent album, a popular success on which he developed his "sheets of sound."
It seems ripe for a dance, really, and from the start, "Walking With 'Trane"—the new suite of works by the Brooklyn-based company Urban Bush Women—tries to be the dance equivalent of Coltrane’s sweet spot: soulful, rich, and unmistakably original.
"He had a different sound," says dancer and associate artistic director Samantha Speis. "People often thought of it as anti-jazz, as opposed to being in his place of discovery as a musician."
In developing the piece Urban Bush Women put in lots of study: hours of listening to the suite, parsing the sounds of individual instruments and transcribing the work’s compositional themes.
“It’s an incredible piece of art . . . that allows you to really have an experience,” Speis says. “It’s remarkable to be able to listen to his music and feel that—the spiritual, transformative journey.”
The suite, cocommisioned by the Dance Center, celebrates Urban Bush Women’s 30th season. Pianist George Coleman supplies the live accompaniment, his own interpretation of A Love Supreme
Urban Bush Women: "Walkin’ With ’Trane" Thu 2/18-Sat 2/20, 7:30 PM, Dance Center of Columbia College, 1306 S. Michigan, 312-369-6600, colum.edu/dance-center, $30, $24 students.