Made with the support of the John Coltrane Estate and the record labels responsible for most of the Coltrane catalogue, and titled “Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary,” the film is directed John Scheinfeld (“The U.S. vs. John Lennon,” “Beautiful Dreamer: Brian Wilson” and more) and, as we learned today, is set to open in a limited theatrical release starting on April 14, 2017, at the IFC Center in New York City, after touring the international film festival circuit over the last year.
Produced by Scott Pascucci, John Beug and Dave Hardingare, “Chasing Trane” features never-before-seen Coltrane family home movies, footage of John Coltrane and band in the studio, hundreds of never-before-seen photographs and rare television appearances from around the world. It tells Coltrane’s incredible story – his own words spoken by Denzel Washington – incorporating the contributions of the musicians that worked with him (Sonny Rollins, McCoy Tyner, Benny Golson, Jimmy Heath, Reggie Workman), musicians that have been inspired by him (Common, John Densmore, Wynton Marsalis, Carlos Santana, Wayne Shorter, Kamasi Washington), Coltrane’s children and biographers, and by well-known admirers such as former US President Bill Clinton and Dr. Cornel West.
It is scored entirely with Coltrane’s music, thanks to the production team being granted unprecedented access to his entire catalog of recordings on Prestige, Blue Note, Atlantic, Pablo and Impulse; each composition carefully selected to support the emotional and uplifting content of scenes in the film where used.
Thom Powers, writing for the Toronto International Film Festival about the film when it premiered there, had this to say about it: “Scheinfeld makes inspired use of archival materials, animated murals, readings of Coltrane’s own words by Denzel Washington, and a wealth of new interviews […] Their testimonies are tremendously articulate but even so, there are moments when they fall speechless, reminding us that such powerful music touches something in us that is beyond words.”
The enigmatic John Coltrane died in 1967 at the very young age of 40, but his music lives on strong, and his massive influence still impacting decades later.
“Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary” opens in New York City at the IFC Center starting on April 14.
Check out 2-minute clip from the film below: