Chasing Trane – a highly-acclaimed documentary on John Coltrane – will open the new season of Independent Lens on PBS with an airing on Nov. 6 at 10 p.m. EST. The film, written and directed by John Scheinfeld, is narrated by Denzel Washington and features not only many of the musicians who played with the saxophonist, such as Sonny Rollins, McCoy Tyner, Benny Golson, Jimmy Heath and Reggie Workman, but also an eclectic group of artists who were inspired by him including Common, Kamasi Washington, Carlos Santana, Wynton Marsalis and John Densmore (from the Doors). High-profile fans President Clinton and Dr. Cornell West provide their commentary on the legacy of John Coltrane.
Scheinfeld weaved together the commentary with never-before-seen family home movies, recently discovered footage of Coltrane and his band in the studio and hundreds of photographs and rare television appearances from around the world. Scheinfeld’s other films 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.
“The fact that, 50 years after his death, there had never been a definitive film on John Coltrane was reason enough to support Chasing Trane,” said Lois Vossen, Independent Lens executive producer, in a press release. “What I really appreciate is director John Scheinfeld’s full portrait of Coltrane as a man and a musician. What emerges is a noble person who, in his short life, transformed an art form and left an indelible mark on our culture. As one critic noted, ‘the fact that someone as wholly beautiful as John Coltrane once walked this Earth is enough to make you maintain some kind of faith in humanity itself.’”
In addition to the initial air date on PBS, the film will stream beginning on Nov. 7.
You can see a trailer of Chasing Trane here.