Spirit Seeker: John Coltrane’s Musical Journey
Written by Gary Golio
Illustrated by Rudy Gutierrez
This is the latest in a series of books by Gary Golio about Jazz musicians. Spirit Seeker: John Coltrane’s Musical Journey is a brief, but compelling biography of John Coltrane’s journey: from the church where his mother played the organ while his grandfather preached the gospel, where John soaked up the music along with all he heard about the power of the Spirit to guide and heal each human being and taking us thru the depths of drug addiction and recovery. The story tells how John lived his music, how his music was him, not an extension of him. We also read about how he finally returns to his mother’s home, to rid himself of the drugs, and how his gift of music was restored, better than ever before.
“Swing, blues, bebop, hot jazz, cool jazz, gospel, and classical—everything John had ever heard was blending together in his mind and heart. It was a heavenly mix of sounds, like what he had imagined years ago, sitting in church as a boy.”
This story is an excellent story of rediscovering yourself, and turning your life around. A story of a life dedicated to the music, John felt inside that was struggling to get out. John had struggled to bury the sadness in his life from losing so many members of his family by turning to drugs, but then came to the realization that numbing his body and mind also numbed his music.
The book is awash with stirring paintings done by the illustrator Rudy Gutierrez. Gutierrez does an excellent job of catching the vibrancy of life and the soul searching that took place in John’s life.
This book can lead to discussions on making the right choices in life, on the value of family, on seeking the truth about who you are.
This book was written for 4-6th graders, and is an excellent book to introduce grade school children to the many facets of the musical world. This book has received several awards and is on many book lists.