Review of Raphael Rogiński plays John Coltrane and Langston Hughes African mystic music by Raphael Rogiński, Bolt Records, 2015
Will we ever a day be able to define the importance of John Coltrane? Lot of books have been written about his personal artistic figure, but at the moment, in my opinion, I still haven’t seen anybody addressing his interests about his musical and cultural heritage. Several guitarists in particular have repeatedly said they grew up under his positively influence and see him as an example for constant inspiration, I’m talking about musicians like John McLaughlin, Sonny Sharrock and Pat Martino, but rarely, very rarely, it was possible to find out who had the courage to face his repertoire.
You know, it’s always to not mess with the saints and Coltrane’s music is hard to think and interpret, even for the listener is almost unthinkable the idea that someone can take up his songs and revive them, accustomed as we are to his copious and detailed record documentation that enables us always to listen to this music, where it’s always so easy to find new things, new details, new inspirations.
With his cd, African Mystic Music, Rogiński offers eight Coltrane compositions, completely revamped, plus two of his own as accompaniment for Natalia Przybysz’s voice singing two poems by Langston Hughes, a member of the Harlem Renaissance, eight songs but I don’t think about them as “cover” but as complete interpretations, as a real abstraction of Coltrane’s musical thought.
So It goes that this is not an album for purists, but for people who are looking for new perspectives and innovations, as Rogiński’s prepared guitar creates luminous but not trivial, intense but not heavy landscapes, so if you expect the classic new age record you will be disappointed. Rogiński never trivialize Coltrane’s music reinventing it continuously but keeping the same spiritual characteristics, the same sweat, the same energy and the same intensity. He substantially retains this stylistic model for all these songs and when it comes to the end with Naima, while its beautiful melody gently disappears, it’s easy to press the Start button, and even listen to it all over again.