I’ve just published a blog on the Oxford University Press website about the cover of my new book Beyond A Love Supreme: John Coltrane and the Legacy of an Album. Here’s the opening- click on the link below if you want to read more:
Judging a book by its cover: recordings, street art, and John Coltrane
Created by the Berlin-based street artist MTO, a graffiti artwork was painted on a Parisian wall a few years ago and only on display for a few days before being painted over. A few photographs of the image, taken by MTO at the scene, are all that remain of the work. MTO’s image served as a perfect visual manifestation of the issues and strategies at play in my research: a graffiti version of an iconic photograph of John Coltrane which appears on the front of his 1964 album, A Love Supreme.
The influence of recordings is more than just musical or sonic in nature; recordings impact different arts and appear in different cultural contexts. In many ways, they have the potential to alter our view of the places we live in and, in some instances, can change our relationship to history itself. The temporary nature of MTO’s artwork and its subsequent use in photographic form and on the web also mirrors the changes that occur when music is recorded, disseminated, and used in different ways. Just as the recordings themselves can be understood in a number of different ways, these layers of mediation – that is, the channels through which we communicate, or the involvement of third parties in the construction and distribution of meaning – enable A Love Supreme (and other recordings) to take on infinite new lives and meanings.