Video: St. John Coltrane African Orthodox Church

Turnstyle spent a morning inside San Francisco's famous St. John Coltrane African Orthodox Church. A love supreme, indeed. "Inside Coltrane Church"


  1. Oh, I’m so happy to see this! They were having financial troubles a while ago, and I thought they had closed. (I’m pretty sure they did move).

  2. The church band used to play at Cafe Du Nord all the time when I first moved to SF in the early 90’s… I was so into JC’s music at the time, and here was a real live band that really got him. So glad to see they’re still around. (And man, the bass player looks like she hasn’t aged a day!)

  3. Oh man! So glad this church is still happening. This was one of the best experiences I had on my first visit to San Francisco. Joyous, awesome.

  4. “A Love Supreme” is an amazing effort by Coltrane and I really loved the tribute Branford Marsalis paid to on his “Footsteps” album. I can really understand why there might be a church that counts John Coltrane as a sponsor when I think of the SOUND he played with.

  5. When I was 18 years old and homeless in SF, this church served the best free meal in town, huge and healthy and tasty. No higher praise.

  6. It’s disappointing that this post and many others recently come without background information. I had to figure out what the African Orthodox Church actually was before this video made sense. People should put some basic description, at least “after the jump”.

    1. You have a lot of rules for somebody else’s blog. There’s a link to the church’s website. Do you live in one of those countries that blocks Google?

  7. Some John Coltrane at his best, IMHO: Africa.

    And little something by a lesser-known buddy o’ his (who in fact wrote the arrangement heard in the Coltrane number linked above, and who IMHO deserves greater fame), one Eric Dolphy:

    And just how early in our history was music first introduced into, or used as part of, religious ceremonial?

    Are religion and music closer than we think in their origin?
    Were they born twins?

  8. I never knew this church was linking itself to the Orthodox tradition. Their apostolic link is very tenuous, but that’s very inside-baseball unless you’re a church nerd like me. However, if you read the wiki about the guy who supposedly conferred apostolic legitimacy, it’s a great study about how to fuck with and undermine the Roman Catholic Church. He seems like a fascinating and bizarre character, and I’d love to find a movie or book that tells his story from his point of view.

  9. If Elvis and John Coltrane have churches, does Liberace have a cathedral?

    Does Michael Jackson have a Roman bath?

    Does Mama Cass have a deli?

    Does Freddie Mercury have a YMCA? (yes, I know…Queen.)

    Does Abe Vigoda ha…oh wait.

    p.s. The other names – specifically Elvis and Coltrane are IN the Windows spell check right-click drop-down menu, but Abe Vigoda ISN’T. I’d really like to know why not.

  10. Early in the 80’s the royal Nina Simone stayed this us. She was basically abandoned and someone at the jazz club knew we were good people and would look after her. We helped take care of her for a few weeks then brought her to John Coltrane’s church.

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