A Song I Love – Aisha by John Coltrane

In a 2015 reader-decided BBC poll of greatest jazz artists of all time, saxophonist John Coltrane came in fourth. Per Wikipedia, “Coltrane influenced innumerable musicians, and remains one of the most significant saxophonists in music history. He received many posthumous awards and recognitions.”

His warm tone (here tenor, but also sometimes alto and soprano) is instantly recognizable. He is also known for his “sheets of sound,” so-named because of his high-speed improvisational runs. But on this tune, the feel is late-night mellow with each of three saxophonists taking brief solos.

“Aisha” – from the 1961 album Olé –  is a ballad written by pianist McCoy Tyner for his then-wife. (Tyner, at 77, was still performing as recently as late last year in New York.) Even if you’re not a jazz fan, I encourage you to give this one a listen. I love rock and roll. But jazz takes me to a whole other place that rock cannot reach.


John Coltrane (tenor sax), Freddie Hubbard (trumpet), Eric Dolphy (alto sax), McCoy Tyner (piano), Reggie Workman (bass), Elvin Jones, (drums)

I have no evidence whatsoever that Stevie Wonder named one of his daughters for this tune. But that won’t stop me from stating it just as if I knew it to be absolutely true.

13 thoughts on “A Song I Love – Aisha by John Coltrane

  1. Thank you for posting “Aisha” and asking people to take a listen. So many rock legends had/have John Coltrane in their collection. There were very few true geniuses that grace a lifetime and, and I believe, John Coltrane was one of them. My favorite will always be Coltrane’s “My Favorite Things”.


    1. Yeah since this is such a rock/blues focused blog, I like to encourage fellow rockers who may not be into jazz to go outside their comfort zone. If someone hadn’t long ago encouraged me to do that, I might never have gotten into it. As mentioned, jazz reaches places rock can’t touch. As to ‘My Favorite Things,’ yes I actually posted that number on my very first jazz post back in September.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for the reminder about your post on Jazz. Took another read and listen to your post. Enjoying my day so far listening to Jazz and mostly Coltrane. All music just inspires, eh?


        1. Indeed it does. I have officially declared today Jazz day and I am shuffling through my playlist on iTunes. To which I just added, well, that’s a post for another day. :-/

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I struggled to get into Coltrane until one day I was listening to him on headphones on a tram in the middle of the city at lunchtime. The music and movement of the streets began to synchronize right before my eyes and I suddenly just got it. That was Love Supreme.


    1. Great story! I’ve never quite had anything like that happen. Closest I came is when a friend loaned me the first Zeppelin album. For whatever reason, could not get into it. Then just before I was going to give it back, I decided to give it one more listen. Whoa! Hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks. Sometimes I have to listen to an album (or artist) more than once, especially if I’m not yet ready for it. Anyway, thanks for sharing.


  3. Another good one Jim. CB is a big John fan. Just love his sound and feel. I’m listening while I write this. Freddie Hubbard sounds great. The whole cut sounds great. (Just watched ‘Hudsucker Proxy’ the other night. ‘ Sentimental Mood’ was playing in a scene Ellington/Coltrane?) Now I’m going to pop into the future and look at you Lou piece.


  4. From one extreme to the other, eh? From the serenity of ‘Aisha’ to “‘Cause when the blood begins to flow, when it shoots up the dropper’s neck, when I’m closing in on death” from ‘Heroin.’

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To my knowledge, he had three kids – Ravi, Oran and John Jr. He also had a song named ‘Naima’ which he named for his then-wife. But I can’t find any evidence of a daughter named Aisha.


  5. Mood music at it’s best..after midnight w/red wine (or Scotch) Coltrane like Miles is often his greatest when restrained in their playing.


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