Coltrane, for me, is a—a culminating figure in a very rich tradition of blues and jazz. A blues that injects a blue note into Western history, into Western musical harmony, a note of dissonance, disturbance, defiance, wrestling with darkness, but always sustaining a sense of endurance and stamina, rooted in a deep love of self and a love of others. And be it a Ma Rainey, be it a Billie Holiday, a Sarah Vaughan, a Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk or John Coltrane, you have this story of a people, who up against institutional terrorisms — slavery, Jim Crow, lynching, police brutality — still forge a sense of self with integrity and dignity. That’s what I hear in John Coltrane.
— Cornel West