When I fell in love with jazz, I fell in love with John Coltrane. I remember the moment vividly – I was in middle school, probably in the eighth grade, and I was seeing my friends in the school jazz band play a concert. I was a bit drowsy, as I get during some concerts, but then about halfway through, they played the Coltrane arrangement of “Afro Blue.” I sat bolt upright. The horn laying into it, the piano segueing in, the wailing, haunting, angry harmonies that moved through the piece brought up something that said “listen; pay attention to this.” Quite frankly, I’d never heard anything like it, and granted, it was played by middle and high schoolers and likely not as good a performance as I remember, but it struck me. I wasn’t that into music, even. I was there to see my friends. But this was something, this was powerful, this is what music was, this is why everyone got so riled up about it. I started learning the sax after that, and joined the band the next year. Even though I don’t play it too often these days, Coltrane is there when I’m working, inking, thinking, whenever I need a kick in the pants. If you haven’t listened to this piece, go find it. Queue it up. Sit down comfortably and close your eyes. The first time you listen to it, don’t do anything else. Just sit and focus and hear it. That’s all.