The only known soundtrack by John Coltrane was for a Quebec film — and now you can listen to it
The legendary saxophonist recorded the music for Gilles Groulx's Le chat dans le sac 55 years ago
In 1964, on Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, Quebec filmmaker and activist Gilles Groulx was in New Jersey recording the music for his seminal film Le chat dans le sac (The Cat in the Bag). The musicians? John Coltrane, playing with pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison and drummer Elvin Jones.
The only known soundtrack to be recorded by the legendary saxophonist, Blue World features eight versions of Coltrane's compositions recorded specifically for Groulx's film. And while Le chat dans le sac has been influential in Quebec cinema for the last half-century — due to Groulx's filmmaking techniques as well as his politically-charged subject matter, exploring the province's Quiet Revolution through the lens of a young couple's personal conflict — Coltrane's contribution has gone mostly unnoticed.
According to NPR, because Coltrane's recording date for this project had "gone unnoted in session recording logs, this music has occupied a blind spot for Trane-ologists, archivists and historians."
Blue World has been technically available for the last 55 years via a viewing of Le chat dans le sac, which is hosted on the National Film Board's site, but this fall marks the first time it will be widely available on its own thanks to a partnership between the film board and Impulse! Records.
Listen to the soundtrack's title track below, and get the full soundtrack as of Sept. 27.