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About Amit Varma

Amit Varma is a writer based in Mumbai. He worked in journalism for over a decade, and won the Bastiat Prize for Journalism in 2007. His bestselling novel, My Friend Sancho, was published in 2009. He is best known for his blog, India Uncut. His current project is a non-fiction book about the lack of personal and economic freedoms in post-Independence India.




Bastiat Prize 2007 Winner

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27 August, 2007

Die With John Coltrane

I was chatting with my friend Shruti Rajagopalan about a piece she is writing on John Coltrane, and she forwarded me this excerpt from the book Jazz: A History Of America’s Music:

“Many years later”, the tenor saxophonist Bradford Marsalis recalled, “a lot of younger musicians were hanging around with Elvin Jones, and they were talking about, ‘Man, you know, you guys had an intensity when you were playing with Coltrane. I mean, what was it like? How do you play with that kind of intensity?’ And Elvin Jones looks at them and says, ‘You gotta be willing to die with the motherfucker.’ They started laughing like kids do, waiting for the punchline, and then they realised he was serious. How many people do you know that are willing to die—period? Die with anybody! And when you listen to those records, that’s exactly what they sound like. I mean that they would die for each other.”

Elvin Jones, by the by, was the drummer of Coltrane’s Classic Quartet, and worked with him on A Love Supreme, among other albums.

Posted by Amit Varma in Arts and entertainment | Excerpts

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