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John Coltrane documentary to be shown at Cinema Arts Centre

"Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary" will be shown at the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington. Photo Credit: Don Schlitten

All aboard for the Trane trip that’s set to begin Wednesday night at the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington.

That evening, the theater will screen “Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary,” about the famed jazz musician, which will be followed by a Q&A with director John Scheinfeld and a reception featuring music by bassist Reggie Workman, who recorded with Coltrane. The film, which chronicles the brilliant career and turbulent personal life of Coltrane, also shines a spotlight on the Coltrane Home in Dix Hills. A portion of the proceeds from the evening will go toward the home-museum’s restoration. Two nights later, the theater will spotlight Coltrane’s music during its monthly Jazz After Hours series in the Sky Room Cafe.

“John Coltrane had a sociocultural impact on more people in the world than just jazz lovers. He stretched boundaries with his talent, his creativity and his heart,” says Spencer Proffer, a producer of the film, which was well-received when it was screened at both the Telluride Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival in September.

While Coltrane’s music, such as the album “A Love Supreme,” composed at his Dix Hills residence, is at the heart of the film, it also deals with his personal demons, including a drug habit, which he eventually quit cold turkey, and his humanitarian efforts.

“Scheinfeld didn’t just do a typical musical bio. He went deep into things beyond just the factual stuff. He showed the ways in which Coltrane made a difference to people and culture,” Proffer says. Among those were Coltrane’s composition “Alabama,” which was written to the beats of Martin Luther King’s speech eulogizing the four girls killed in a Birmingham church bombing in 1963.

“He [also] wrote a composition about world peace for the people of Japan because he was so moved by the sacrifices that had happened to that country during the atomic blast and the aftermath,” Proffer says. “He really felt like he wanted to give a musical and spiritual giveback. I was very moved by that.”

The movie, which is narrated by Denzel Washington, also includes interviews with musicians who were influenced by Coltrane, including former President Bill Clinton, John Densmore of The Doors and Common.

Ultimately, Proffer says, what he wants people to leave with after seeing the movie is to push boundaries.

“Don’t be afraid to take chances,” he says. “Go with your heart and hope you can make a difference with whatever it is that you do. Coltrane personified that bold, adventurous spirit.”

WHAT “Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary,” followed by a Q&A with director John Scheinfeld and a reception with live music by Reggie Workman

WHEN | WHERE 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 17, Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave., Huntington

INFO $35; 631-423-7611, cinemaartscentre.org

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