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.