Monday, January 15, 2007
To their credit, the NME have now published the news of Alice Coltrane's death online (albeit under the predictable header - 'John Coltrane's widow dies'). Astonishingly, they credit Billboard not for the news itself, but for factual details of her discography. Are NME's journalists so ignorant of musical history that they need to credit US industry publications with information very much in the public domain, and which should be standard knowledge for any journalist called upon to report on these matters?
The world of jazz has suffered a double devastating loss this weekend, with the deaths of Michael Brecker and Alice Coltrane. The influence of Brecker's technique is hard to overstate and he will be much missed by musicians and enthusiasts alike. Alice Coltrane's death is particularly hard to take - she had only recently started to receive due credit for her substantial body of work, and had spent too much of her life in the shadow of her husband's towering legacy. Only recently performing live again, she was due to appear at the Barbican in London in April, a concert I had been anticipating keenly. It's tragic news. I'll write a full appreciation of her as soon as I have time. Why are no major news outlets in the UK reporting this (even sites primarily dedicated to music)? The Alice Coltrane news came from Pitchfork, an American website that barely otherwise ever even mentions jazz! Maybe I'm too unrealistic in my expectations of the media, but it pains me that Kylie's outbreak of flu is considered more significant.