July 17: Jazz Legend John Coltrane Died 50 years ago in 1967

“My music is the spiritual expression of what I am — my faith, my knowledge, my being…When you begin to see the possibilities of music, you desire to do something really good for people, to help humanity free itself from its hangups…I want to speak to their souls.”
~John Coltrane

All a musician can do is to get closer to the sources of nature, and so feel that he is in communion with the natural laws.
~John Coltrane

John Coltrane Quartet – Impressions (video)
McCoy Tyner:Piano
Jimmy Garrison:Bass
Elvin Jones:Drums:

From Wikipedia:

Birth name John William Coltrane
Also known as “Trane”
Born September 23, 1926
Hamlet, North Carolina, United States
Died July 17, 1967 (aged 40)
Huntington, New York, United States
Genres Avant-garde jazz, hard bop, post-bop, modal jazz, free jazz
Occupations Saxophonist, composer, bandleader
Instruments Tenor, soprano, and altosaxophone
Years active 1946–1967
Labels Prestige, Blue Note, Atlantic, Impulse!, Pablo
Associated acts Alice Coltrane, Miles Davis Quintet, Thelonious Monk, Pharoah Sanders, Eric Dolphy
Website johncoltrane.com

John William Coltrane (also known as “Trane“; September 23, 1926 – July 17, 1967) was an American jazz saxophonist and composer. Working in the bebop and hard bop idioms early in his career, Coltrane helped pioneer the use of modes in jazz and later was at the forefront of free jazz. He organized at least fifty recording sessions as a leader during his recording career, and appeared as a sideman on many other albums, notably with trumpeter Miles Davis and pianist Thelonious Monk.

As his career progressed, Coltrane and his music took on an increasingly spiritual dimension. His second wife was pianist Alice Coltrane and their son Ravi Coltrane is also a saxophonist. Coltrane influenced innumerable musicians, and remains one of the most significant saxophonists in jazz history. He received many posthumous awards and recognitions, including canonization by the African Orthodox Church as Saint John William Coltrane. In 2007, Coltrane was awarded the Pulitzer Prize Special Citation for his “masterful improvisation, supreme musicianship and iconic centrality to the history of jazz.”

Great documentary (with a lot of brilliant Coltrane clips):

The World According to John Coltrane




I believe that men are here to grow themselves into best good that they can be – at least, this is what I want to do.
~John Coltrane

Blue Train (album version)
– John Coltrane – tenor saxophone
– Lee Morgan – trumpet
– Curtis Fuller – trombone
– Kenny Drew – piano
– Paul Chambers – bass
– Philly Joe Jones – drums

Despite a relatively brief career (he first came to notice as a sideman at age 29 in 1955, formally launched a solo career at 33 in 1960, and was dead at 40 in 1967), saxophonist John Coltrane was among the most important, and most controversial, figures in jazz. It seems amazing that his period of greatest activity was so short, not only because he recorded prolifically, but also because, taking advantage of his fame, the record companies that recorded him as a sideman in the 1950s frequently reissued those recordings under his name and there has been a wealth of posthumously released material as well. Since Coltrane was a protean player who changed his style radically over the course of his career, this has made for much confusion in his discography and in appreciations of his playing. There remains a critical divide between the adherents of his earlier, more conventional (if still highly imaginative) work and his later, more experimental work. No one, however, questions Coltrane’s almost religious commitment to jazz or doubts his significance in the history of the music.
~William Ruhlmann (allmusic.com)

John Coltrane

Legacy:

The influence Coltrane has had on music spans many different genres and musicians. Coltrane’s massive influence on jazz, both mainstream and avant-garde, began during his lifetime and continued to grow after his death. He is one of the most dominant influences on post-1960 jazz saxophonists and has inspired an entire generation of jazz musicians.

  • In 1965, he was inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame.
  • In 1982 Coltrane was awarded a posthumous Grammy for “Best Jazz Solo Performance” on the album Bye Bye Blackbird
  • in 1997, was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • His revolutionary use of multi-tonic systems in jazz has become a widespread composition and reharmonization technique known as “Coltrane changes”
  • In 2002, scholar Molefi Kete Asante listed John Coltrane on his list of 100 Greatest African Americans.
  • A former home, the John Coltrane House in Philadelphia, was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1999. His last home, the John Coltrane Home in the Dix Hills district of Huntington, New York, where he resided from 1964 until his death, was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 29, 2007.
  • Coltrane was awarded a special Pulitzer Prize in 2007 citing his “masterful improvisation, supreme musicianship and iconic centrality to the history of jazz.”
  • He was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame in 2009.
  • Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary, is a 2016 American film directed by John Scheinfeld. Narrated by Denzel Washington, the film chronicles the life of Coltrane in his own words, and includes interviews with such admirers as Wynton MarsalisSonny Rollins, and Cornel West.

CHASING TRANE: THE JOHN COLTRANE DOCUMENTARY | Trailer

Albums @ youtube:

Giant Steps (1960)

My Favorite Things (1961)

-Egil

2 thoughts on “July 17: Jazz Legend John Coltrane Died 50 years ago in 1967

  1. With Bob Dylan and Miles Davis, though partly strange this list may sound, he stands central in the development of modern music for me, and also as artists they are towering persons, their way of being inspiring in itself.

  2. Out of the 20th century when mankind developed the technological ability to annihilate itself, Coltrane still points the way to the unification of humanity around its common desire for peace, harmony and justice.

Leave a Reply