Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary

Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary

November 06, 2017

by

John Scheinfeld

Chasing Trane brings saxophone great John Coltrane to life, as a man and an artist.

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About the Documentary

Season premiere! Set against the social, political and cultural landscape of the times, Chasing Trane brings saxophone great John Coltrane to life, as a man and an artist. The film is the definitive look at the boundary-shattering musician whose influence continues to this day. 

Chasing Trane features never-before-seen Coltrane family home movies, footage of Coltrane and his band in the studio (discovered in a California garage during the production of this film), along with hundreds of rare photographs and television appearances from around the world. Coltrane’s incredible story is told by the musicians who worked with him (Sonny Rollins, McCoy Tyner, Benny Golson, Jimmy Heath, Reggie Workman), musicians inspired by his fearless artistry and creative vision (Common, John Densmore, Wynton Marsalis, Carlos Santana, Wayne Shorter, Kamasi Washington), Coltrane’s children (Ravi, Oran, and step-daughters Michelle Coltrane and Antonia Andrews) and biographers, and well-known admirers such as President Bill Clinton and Dr. Cornel West.

Chasing Trane reveals the critical events, passions, experiences, and challenges that shaped Coltrane’s life and his revolutionary sounds. It is a story of demons and darkness, of persistence and redemption. Above all, it is the incredible spiritual journey of a man who found himself and, in the process, created an extraordinary body of work that transcends all barriers of geography, race, religion, and age. And naturally, the film is imbued throughout with Coltrane’s remarkable music.

Although Coltrane never did any television interviews (and only a handful for radio) during his lifetime, he has an active and vibrant presence in the film through thoughts he expressed during print interviews. These words—spoken by Academy Award winner Denzel Washington—illuminate what John Coltrane may have been thinking or feeling at critical moments throughout his life and career.

The Filmmakers

John Scheinfeld

John Scheinfeld is an Emmy®, Grammy® and Writers Guild Award nominee and writer/director/producer of documentaries for theatrical and television distribution. His films have premiered at Telluride, Toronto, Venice and IDFA and include The U.S. vs. John Lennon, Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin' About Him), We Believe, and Dick Cavett's Watergate. In addition, Scheinfeld has written pilot scripts for drama series for ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox. He is a graduate of Oberlin College and received his MFA from Northwestern University.

Full Credits

Awards

  • Festival Programmers Award - Documentary

    Pan African Film Festival Los Angeles

Learn more about the documentary

Join the Discussion

Were you familiar with the music of John Coltrane before this film? What music (new or old) do you listen to today that has a jazz influence? What jazz musicians would be on your "desert island list"?

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