JazzTimes is honored to premiere a new rendition of a John Coltrane gem: “Syeeda’s Song Flute,” as performed by the Daniel Rotem Quartet. The track will appear on the quartet’s upcoming album Wise One: Celebrating the Music of John Coltrane, which is due out on April 8.
Besides Rotem on saxophones, the quartet features pianist Billy Childs, bassist Darek Oles, and drummer Christian Euman. In addition to “Syeeda’s Song Flute,” Wise One includes five other Coltrane compositions—”Moment’s Notice,” “Dahomey Dance,” “Naima,” “Spiritual,” and the title track—as well as a rearrangement of “Song of the Underground Railroad.” With the exception of “Wise One” itself, the songs have been drastically deconstructed and reimagined via new arrangements by Rotem.
Those arrangements were premiered in 2017 at bluewhale in Los Angeles; three years later, on February 7, 2020, they were recorded at the same venue. Sadly, bluewhale would only be open for a few weeks beyond that date, closing its doors for good due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wise One is the fifth album that Rotem, an Israeli-born saxophonist and composer now based in Los Angeles, has released as a leader. He has previously worked with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Dianne Reeves, Jeff Parker, and Terri Lyne Carrington, among many others.
“Composing my own music has always been a major part of my musical identity,” he comments, “but after reading a book of Coltrane interviews and writings (Coltrane on Coltrane) and listening to his music my whole life, I knew I wanted to try and approach the songs from a new angle—from the spiritual side. I hope that this new take on the music of this musical giant will be experienced for what it means to me—a most sincere and heartfelt tribute to the man behind the music, and the way he saw the world through his music. John Coltrane said, ‘I know that there are forces out here that bring suffering to others and misery to the world, but I want to be the opposite force. I want to be the force which is truly for good.’ With this album, I too can hope to align myself with that same force.”