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Jamie Howison’s book on John Coltrane, published by Cascade

With a foreword by Don E. Saliers

As part of the growing literature on theology and the arts, God’s Mind in That Music explores the substantial theological insight expressed in the music of jazz legend John Coltrane. Focusing on eight of Coltrane’s pieces, themes under consideration include lament (“Alabama”), improvisation (“My Favorite Things” and “Ascension”), grace (“A Love Supreme”), and the Trinity (“The Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost”). By attending to the traditions of theology and jazz criticism, and through a series of interviews with musicians, theologians, and jazz writers, Jamie Howison draws the worlds of theology and jazz into an active and vibrant conversation with each other. Built around a focused listening to John Coltrane’s music as heard against the background of his life and social context, and interacting with a range of writers including James Baldwin, Dorothee Soelle, Jeremy Begbie, and James Cone, God’s Mind in that Music will be of interest not only to those concerned with the intersection of music and theology, but also to Coltrane fans, students of jazz studies, and anyone who believes that music matters.

I haven’t heard anything higher than “The Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost” from the Meditations album. I would often play it at four in the morning, the traditional time for meditation. I could hear God’s mind in that music, influencing John Coltrane. I heard the Supreme One playing music through John Coltrane’s mind.

—Carlos Santana

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