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Chasing Trane (free)

  • Central Library 201 West Mifflin Street Madison, WI, 53703 United States (map)

There's really no definitive documentary on the life and music of saxophonist John Coltrane, so director John Scheinfeld attempts to fill the void with the new Chasing Trane. Summing up a musician and composer who contributed seismic harmonic innovations, transcendent compositions, and essential collaborations with artists including Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk, before dying at age 40, is a tough task. The tough reviews the documentary has earned so far indicate that Scheinfeld tackles the challenge in a pretty conventional way, offering a serviceable overview of Coltrane's work and a blue-ribbon gallery of talking heads. These include some of his still-living peers and collaborators, like fellow saxophone icon Sonny Rollins and the extraordinary pianist McCoy Tyner, and younger disciples like saxophonist Kamasi Washington, but do we really need Bill Clinton and Carlos Santana holding forth on Coltrane? But however the film itself strikes you, this will inevitably be an insightful evening, thanks to a post-screening panel discussion made up of Madison-connected jazz performers and commentators. Stick around to hear insights from saxophonist and Cafe Coda founder Hanah Jon Taylor, pianist John Wildman, WORT-FM jazz host Steve Braunginn, and UW-Madison saxophone professor Les Thimmig. —Scott Gordon

Earlier Event: October 25
Dead Boys, No Hoax, Clean Room
Later Event: October 26
Suspiria (free)