17 years later, I'm a hit!  

Posted by Tony Guerrero



(Pictured: Saxophonist John Coltrane)

Last night I played a gig with a very good sax player whom I'd never met. During the evening, as we were all kidding around on stage, he made an off-the-cuff joke regarding the famous sax player, John Coltrane. I recognized the joke right away, and I was a little startled to hear it, so I asked him - "Hey, where'd you hear that?" He told me he'd had a little cartoon of the gag hanging up in his band room for years, and he and his band members would often pay homage to it.

So, why does this matter, and why did I recognize it? Because it was a cartoon I'd drawn and had published in a jazz magazine back in 1991! (Did I ever mention that my first 'dream', before being a musician, was to be a cartoonist?) In all the years since then, I've only heard about it one other time (from yet another sax player), and now am curious if perhaps the gag made the rounds a little more than I'd thought. Frankly, I was pretty proud of it when I did it.

The cartoon was one of a series I called "Playing Outside" (jazz musicians who explore more intrinsic and obscure harmonies are often considered to be "playing outside" of the normal rules of music theory). I signed the cartoon "MAG" - the initials of my full name.

If a joke has to be explained, it often means its not funny. Sometimes, though, a joke can only be funny if you understand the characters and the context.

So, allow me to explain, because this little cartoon could really only be funny to a small portion of jazz musicians.

John Coltrane was a saxophonist who is widely regarded as one of the all time great musicians. His music reached deep into people's souls, so much so that to this day, some 30 years after his death, there is even a church in San Francisco dedicated to him. His musical quest was parallel to his spiritual quest.

One of his landmark albums is called "A Love Supreme" and is a direct result of his spiritual journey. In the title track, he chants the phrase "a love supreme" 19 times (because, he believed, the number 1 is "solution" and the 9 is "universe" - 19 is the combination of 1 and 9). The song has a very meditative feel to it, as if we are listening in on someone's religious experience: "A love supreme, a love supreme, a love supreme, a love supreme, a love supreme...", etc.

Sounds deep, huh? How to make a cartoon gag of it, you wonder?

Well, Jack-In-The-Box has a sandwich called the "Chicken Supreme".

And thus:

This entry was posted on Saturday, December 13, 2008 at Saturday, December 13, 2008 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

2 comments

Anonymous  

not all that funny but very clever! And to think, our daughter listened to John Coltrane every night as she went to bed for 2 years!! No wonder she's so great!

12/13/2008 8:19 PM

I like that! made me laugh. The story and the cartoon!

12/13/2008 9:13 PM

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