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Monday, December 7, 2015

In Context: Walking with 'Trane

Urban Bush Women’s Walking with ’Trane comes to the BAM Harvey Theater December 9—12. Context is everything, so get even closer to the production with this curated selection of articles and videos related to the show. After you've attended the show, let us know what you thought below and by posting on social media using #UrbanBushWomen.

Program Notes

Walking With 'Trane (PDF)


BAM Illustrated: A Love Supreme
Illustrator Nathan Gelgud explores the making and legacy of John Coltrane's masterpiece.

Seeing Through A Love Supreme to Find John Coltrane (The New Yorker)
More material from the original Love Supreme sessions has been released—and Richard Brody is excited.

Watch & Listen

An Introduction to Walking With ‘Trane (Vimeo)
Jowale Willa Jo Zollar talks about the origins of Walking with ‘Trane

50 Years Of John Coltrane's A Love Supreme (NPR)
“It ought to sound weird and off-kilter — but it swings,” confesses NPR’s Arun Rath.

Left of Black: Jawole Willa Jo Zollar (YouTube)
The beloved choreographer talks about directing a company for 30 years.

Now your turn...

What did you think? Did you experience Coltrane reincarnate? Was your love supreme or just so-so? Tell us what's on your mind in the comments below and on social media using #UrbanBushWomen.


  1. Disappointed.
    This is my first time seeing UBW. I found the company very uneven: the skill levels were all over the place. The take away was - this is a company of amateurs in need of serious training. The program didn't include photos of the dancers with their bios and the photos that appeared did not include names (shocking and disrepectful to both the artists and audience): this carelessness made it impossible to know who was who. I found the choreography uninventive and lacking in ideas. I'm tired of excessive pelvic action. There was nothing transcendent about Walking with Trane except the music. It is unlikely I will attend another. UBW performance. I assume George Caldwell was the pianist: he is identified as the composer for Side B but nothing in the bio says he is also a pianist: again this carelessness is totally disrepectful of (in his case) a very fine artist deserving of better representation in the program.

    1. Elated!
      I'm not sure we saw the same company! I just returned from the Dec. 10th performance and it was wonderful. The only criticism I agree with is about the BAMbill and the inadequate identifications of the artists. I have seen UBW before and they have moved to a whole new level. Nothing amateurish about these dancers or this staging. I found the choreography both highly inventive and evocative. Yes, it is rambunctious and spasmodic, but ordered and disciplined - that's the style. The name of the company stands for something!
      As for transcendence, I don't watch UBW or listen to Coltrane seeking transcendence (whatever Coltrane might have wanted!) -- I just want to be moved and excited, and I was. A great show!

  2. I loved it. Dancers were outrageously vibrant and the interpretations and interactions with the music, alive and inspiring, took me places. Thank you!

  3. Yes, indeed, the dancing was uneven, but even worse, there is very little evidence that either the dancers or the choreographer is familiar with the work of John Coltrane. Perhaps she was thinking of Alice Coltrane or Phillip Glass.

  4. I have seen UBW several times, but last night's performance blew me away. At first I was a bit unsure where they were going, but that didn't last long. The genius choreography combined with the skill of the dancers and that incredible pianist nearly brought me to tears. I will continue to follow this amazing group and am eternally grateful to Jowalla, whom I first saw many years ago when UBW performed at Bloomfield College in NJ. I can't say enough about my experience last night... would also add that I have never been disappointed at BAM, which continues to present excellent, extraordinary performances for its audiences. Brava!!!

  5. My friend and I saw the 12/12/15 performance and were rivited. I can assure Equiano that the choreographer is very familiar with the music of Coltrane. It's in her blood. The dancers were phenominal, uplifting and empowering as always.
    Loved the pianist.


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