Yesterday, we reported that Ornette Coleman won the Pulitzer Prize for music-the first time ever that a jazz work earned the honor (Wynton Marsalis won a Pulitzer in 1997 but for his oratorio on slavery). Well, the Pulitzer Prize Board bestowed a posthumous Special Citation to John Coltrane, on account of his lifetime of innovative and influential work.
Praised for “his masterful improvisation, supreme musicianship and iconic centrality to the history of jazz,” the committee, in an official press release, also declared that Coltrane’s “exalted stature arises from his composition and recordings. In A Love Supreme, he produced an imposing composition expressing faith. In Africa/Brass, he achieved astonishing orchestral feats. His work has weight, an artistic quest and searching nature. Coltrane infused the existing tradition with innovation and radical approaches. The surface of his music is dynamic and palpable, the underlying structure is suffused with spirituality and provocative political content.”