John Coltrane on "I Love You"

John Coltrane Portrait Painting By John F. Davis
Revised 5 February 2015 (a.k.a., ii-V-I-V day):

"John Coltrane on 'I Love You'" was the 15th blog post I published on A Horizontal Search, when I had just finished my first week at the 2012 Banff Summer Jazz and Creative Music Workshop (strangely enough, my testimonial is still featured there; I still stand by what I wrote). I can't quite remember the exact circumstances, but around that I time I had just gotten back into transcribing after years of not checking out any recorded solos (I had also just started studying with Miguel Zenón at the time, not uncoincidentally).

It's likely that I transcribed the solo through headphones while in transit, either on a plane or on a bus. I hadn't started using any slow-down software, either, with the rationale being that I'd transcribe now and learn later when the time came—like after graduating from college and attending musical school full-time. Now, two and a half years later, I've finally learned this solo. I learned it from my own transcription, but was rather appalled by how many mistakes I found—not just pitch mistakes, but entire phrases missing or off by steps. I thought I'd do the honorable thing and go back and correct these mistakes, so here's the edited transcription, which is not perfect by any means, but might at least be a bit easier to read for having both fewer mistakes and the normal, non-"jazz font" that I fortunately disavowed not too long into my blogging life.
John Coltrane "I Love You" Solo Transcription Page 1

John Coltrane "I Love You" Solo Transcription Page 2

John Coltrane "I Love You" Solo Transcription Page 3

John Coltrane "I Love You" Solo Transcription Page 4


***Another ii-V-I day post (ii-V-I-iii), on the "Fuck Wayne Shorter" mini-episode.

* * * * * 

[ed. note, 2.5.15: below is the original post, from May 29, 2012. Reproduced with express permission of the author, etc. etc. etc., primarily for SEO reasons (sad as it is)]

The first time I heard Coltrane playing trio on Lush Life (recorded in 1957 and '58), it didn't occur to me that there was no chordal accompaniment—the way Trane played over the changes, oftentimes outlining the changes while still creating memorable melodic shapes, completely obviated the need for a pianist.

Here's his solo on the standard "I Love You," with Earl May on bass and the great but sometimes underrated Art Taylor on drums (also check out Art Taylor's insightful book of player-to-player interviews, Notes and Tones, if you haven't!):

The melody makes a nice cameo appearance in mm. 54-57 — a recurring element in Trane's soloing that grounds his harmonic exploration

mm. 100: Playing Cm7 - F7 over Am7b5 - D7alt — nice substitution


  1. Thanks! Great study in transcription.
    Here's the music:


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