*A rare interview with legendary jazz saxophonist John Coltrane has been selected for the PBS series “Blank on Blank,” which takes historical audio exchanges from notable celebrities and puts it to animation.
Coltrane’s 1966 interview, one of his last, took place less than a year before his untimely death in 1967 at age 40. Pacifica Archives interviewer Frank Kofsky went out to Long Island to spend the day with the musician, and the resulting hour-long recording captures their time driving around the New York suburb.
“Blank on Blank” animators have illustrated some of the interview’s highlights, which center on his technique and practice habits. Though he had just attended one of Malcolm X’s last speeches, Coltrane shied away from the more philosophical questions, insisting that the music speaks for itself.
“Music, being expression of the human heart or the human being itself, does express just what is happening,” he said on the question of if his work reflected the activist’s philosophy.
In a rare articulation of his mission, though, Coltrane tells Kofsky, “I know that there are forces out here that bring suffering to others and misery to the world, but I want to be the opposite force. I want to be the force which is truly for good.”
Watch a teaser of the animation, and listen to Coltrane’s full hour-long recording below: