John Coltrane
Name: John Coltrane
Occupation: Saxophonist
Gender: Male
Height: 173 cm (5' 9'')
Birth Day: September 23, 1926
Death Date: Jul 17, 1967 (age 40)
Age: Aged 40
Birth Place: Hamlet, United States
Zodiac Sign: Libra

Social Accounts

John Coltrane

John Coltrane was born on September 23, 1926 in Hamlet, United States (40 years old). John Coltrane is a Saxophonist, zodiac sign: Libra. Nationality: United States. Approx. Net Worth: $500 Thousand.

Trivia

As a saxophonist he received a Pulitzer Prize Special Citation and worked with Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk.

Net Worth 2020

$500 Thousand
Find out more about John Coltrane net worth here.

Does John Coltrane Dead or Alive?

As per our current Database, John Coltrane died on Jul 17, 1967 (age 40).

Physique

Height Weight Hair Colour Eye Colour Blood Type Tattoo(s)
173 cm (5' 9'') N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Before Fame

He joined the Navy as a young man and played in the Navy band.

Biography

Biography Timeline

1926

Coltrane was born in his parents' apartment at 200 Hamlet Avenue in Hamlet, North Carolina, on September 23, 1926. His father was John R. Coltrane and his mother was Alice Blair. He grew up in High Point, North Carolina and attended William Penn High School. Beginning in December 1938, his father, aunt, and grandparents died within a few months of each other, leaving him to be raised by his mother and a close cousin. In June 1943, he moved to Philadelphia. In September, his mother bought him his first saxophone, an alto. He played clarinet and alto horn in a community band before beginning alto saxophone in high school. From early to mid-1945 he had his first professional work: a "cocktail lounge trio" with piano and guitar.

1945

To avoid being drafted by the Army, Coltrane enlisted in the Navy on August 6, 1945, the day the first U.S. atomic bomb was dropped on Japan. He was trained as an apprentice seaman at Sampson Naval Training Station in upstate New York before he was shipped to Pearl Harbor, where he was stationed at Manana Barracks, the largest posting of African-American servicemen in the world. By the time he got to Hawaii in late 1945, the Navy was downsizing. Coltrane's musical talent was recognized, and he became one of the few Navy men to serve as a musician without having been granted musician's rating when he joined the Melody Masters, the base swing band. As the Melody Masters was an all-white band, however, Coltrane was treated merely as a guest performer to avoid alerting superior officers of his participation in the band. He continued to perform other duties when not playing with the band, including kitchen and security details. By the end of his service, he had assumed a leadership role in the band. His first recordings, an informal session in Hawaii with Navy musicians, occurred on July 13, 1946. He played alto saxophone on a selection of jazz standards and bebop tunes.

An important moment in the progression of Coltrane's musical development occurred on June 5, 1945, when he saw Charlie Parker perform for the first time. In a DownBeat magazine article in 1960 he recalled, "the first time I heard Bird play, it hit me right between the eyes." Parker became an idol, and they played together occasionally in the late 1940s. He was a member of groups led by Dizzy Gillespie, Earl Bostic, and Johnny Hodges in the early to mid-1950s.

1946

After being discharged from the Navy as a seaman first class in August 1946, Coltrane returned to Philadelphia, where he "plunged into the heady excitement of the new music and the blossoming bebop scene." After touring with King Kolax, he joined a band led by Jimmy Heath, who was introduced to Coltrane's playing by his former Navy buddy, trumpeter William Massey, who had played with Coltrane in the Melody Masters. He studied jazz theory with guitarist and composer Dennis Sandole and continued under Sandole's tutelage through the early 1950s. Although he started on alto saxophone, he began playing tenor saxophone in 1947 with Eddie Vinson.

1947

In 1947, when he joined King Kolax's band, Coltrane switched to tenor saxophone, the instrument he became known for playing. In the early 1960s, during his engagement with Atlantic, he played soprano saxophone.

1955

In 1955, Coltrane was freelancing in Philadelphia while studying with guitarist Dennis Sandole when he received a call from trumpeter Miles Davis. Davis had been successful in the 40s, but his reputation and work had been damaged in part by heroin addiction; he was again active and about to form a quintet. Coltrane was with this edition of the Davis band (known as the "First Great Quintet"—along with Red Garland on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Philly Joe Jones on drums) from October 1955 to April 1957 (with a few absences). During this period Davis released several influential recordings that revealed the first signs of Coltrane's growing ability. This quintet, represented by two marathon recording sessions for Prestige in 1956, resulted in the albums Cookin', Relaxin', Workin', and Steamin'. The "First Great Quintet" disbanded due in part to Coltrane's heroin addiction.

In 1955, Coltrane married Naima (née Juanita Grubbs). Naima Coltrane, a Muslim convert, heavily influenced his spirituality. When they married, she had a five-year-old daughter named Antonia, later named Syeeda. Coltrane adopted Syeeda. He met Naima at the home of bassist Steve Davis in Philadelphia. The love ballad he wrote to honor his wife, "Naima", was Coltrane's favorite composition. In 1956 the couple left Philadelphia with their six-year-old daughter in tow and moved to New York City. In August 1957, Coltrane, Naima and Syeeda moved into an apartment on 103rd St. and Amsterdam Ave. in New York. A few years later, John and Naima Coltrane purchased a home at 116-60 Mexico Street in St. Albans, Queens. This is the house where they would break up in 1963.

1957

Biographer Lewis Porter speculated that the cause of Coltrane's illness was hepatitis, although he also attributed the disease to Coltrane's heroin use at a previous period in his life. Frederick J. Spencer wrote that Coltrane's death could be attributed to his needle use "or the bottle, or both." He stated that "[t]he needles he used to inject the drugs may have had everything to do with" Coltrane's liver disease: "If any needle was contaminated with the appropriate hepatitis virus, it may have caused a chronic infection leading to cirrhosis or cancer." He noted that despite Coltrane's "spiritual awakening" in 1957, "[b]y then, he may have had chronic hepatitis and cirrhosis... Unless he developed a primary focus elsewhere in later life and that spread to his liver, the seeds of John Coltrane’s cancer were sown in his days of addiction."

In 1957, Coltrane had a religious experience that may have helped him overcome the heroin addiction and alcoholism he had struggled with since 1948. In the liner notes of A Love Supreme, Coltrane states that in 1957 he experienced "by the grace of God, a spiritual awakening which was to lead me to a richer, fuller, more productive life. At that time, in gratitude, I humbly asked to be given the means and privilege to make others happy through music." The liner notes appear to mention God in a Universalist sense and do not advocate one religion over another. Further evidence of this universal view can be found in the liner notes of Meditations (1965) in which Coltrane declares, "I believe in all religions."

1958

Coltrane rejoined Davis in January 1958. In October of that year, jazz critic Ira Gitler coined the term "sheets of sound" to describe the style Coltrane developed with Monk and was perfecting in Davis's group, now a sextet. His playing was compressed, with rapid runs cascading in hundreds of notes per minute. Coltrane recalled: "I found that there were a certain number of chord progressions to play in a given time, and sometimes what I played didn't work out in eighth notes, sixteenth notes, or triplets. I had to put the notes in uneven groups like fives and sevens in order to get them all in."

1960

Coltrane formed his first quartet for live performances in 1960 for an appearance at the Jazz Gallery in New York City. After moving through different personnel, including Steve Kuhn, Pete La Roca, and Billy Higgins, he kept pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Steve Davis, and drummer Elvin Jones. Tyner, a native of Philadelphia, had been a friend of Coltrane for some years, and the two men had an understanding that Tyner would join the band when he felt ready. My Favorite Things (1961) was the first album recorded by this band. It was Coltrane's first album on soprano saxophone, which he began practicing while with Miles Davis. It was considered an unconventional move because the instrument was not as popular in jazz as other types of saxophone.

1961

In May 1961, Coltrane's contract with Atlantic was bought by Impulse!. The move to Impulse! meant that Coltrane resumed his recording relationship with engineer Rudy Van Gelder, who had recorded his and Davis's sessions for Prestige. He recorded most of his albums for Impulse! at Van Gelder's studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.

By early 1961, bassist Davis had been replaced by Reggie Workman, while Eric Dolphy joined the group as a second horn. The quintet had a celebrated and extensively recorded residency at the Village Vanguard, which demonstrated Coltrane's new direction. It included the most experimental music he had played, influenced by Indian ragas, modal jazz, and free jazz. John Gilmore, a longtime saxophonist with musician Sun Ra, was particularly influential; after hearing a Gilmore performance, Coltrane is reported to have said, "He's got it! Gilmore's got the concept!" The most celebrated of the Vanguard tunes, the 15-minute blues "Chasin' the 'Trane", was strongly inspired by Gilmore's music.

Starting in 1961, Coltrane also began pairing Workman with a second bassist, usually Art Davis or Donald Garrett. Garrett recalled playing a tape for Coltrane where "...I was playing with another bass player. We were doing some things rhythmically, and Coltrane became excited about the sound. We got the same kind of sound you get from the East Indian water drum. One bass remains in the lower register and is the stabilizing, pulsating thing, while the other bass is free to improvise, like the right hand would be on the drum. So Coltrane liked the idea." Coltrane also recalled: "I thought another bass would add that certain rhythmic sound. We were playing a lot of stuff with a sort of suspended rhythm, with one bass playing a series of notes around one point, and it seemed that another bass could fill in the spaces..." According to Eric Dolphy, one night "Wilbur Ware came in and up on the stand so they had three basses going. John and I got off the stand and listened..." Coltrane employed two basses on the 1961 albums Olé Coltrane and Africa/Brass, and later on The John Coltrane Quartet Plays and Ascension.

During this period, critics were divided in their estimation of Coltrane, who had radically altered his style. Audiences, too, were perplexed; in France he was booed during his final tour with Davis. In 1961, Down Beat magazine called Coltrane and Dolphy players of "anti-jazz" in an article that bewildered and upset the musicians. Coltrane admitted some of his early solos were based mostly on technical ideas. Furthermore, Dolphy's angular, voice-like playing earned him a reputation as a figurehead of the "New Thing", also known as free jazz, a movement led by Ornette Coleman which was denigrated by some jazz musicians (including Davis) and critics. But as Coltrane's style developed, he was determined to make every performance "a whole expression of one's being".

1962

In 1962, Dolphy departed and Jimmy Garrison replaced Workman as bassist. From then on, the "Classic Quartet", as it came to be known, with Tyner, Garrison, and Jones, produced searching, spiritually driven work. Coltrane was moving toward a more harmonically static style that allowed him to expand his improvisations rhythmically, melodically, and motivically. Harmonically complex music was still present, but on stage Coltrane heavily favored continually reworking his "standards": "Impressions", "My Favorite Things", and "I Want to Talk About You".

1963

On March 6, 1963, the group entered Van Gelder Studio in New Jersey and recorded a session that was lost for decades after its master tape was destroyed by Impulse Records to cut down on storage space. On June 29, 2018, Impulse! released Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album, made up of seven tracks made from a spare copy Coltrane had given to his wife. On March 7, 1963, they were joined in the studio by Hartman for the recording of six tracks for the John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman album, released that July.

In 1963, he met pianist Alice McLeod. He and Alice moved in together and had two sons before he became "officially divorced from Naima in 1966, at which time [he] and Alice were immediately married." John Jr. was born in 1964, Ravi in 1965, and Oranyan ("Oran") in 1967. According to the musician Peter Lavezzoli, "Alice brought happiness and stability to John's life, not only because they had children, but also because they shared many of the same spiritual beliefs, particularly a mutual interest in Indian philosophy. Alice also understood what it was like to be a professional musician."

1964

Impulse! followed the successful "lost album" release with 2019's Blue World, made up of a 1964 soundtrack to the film The Cat in the Bag, recorded in June 1964.

The Classic Quartet produced their best-selling album, A Love Supreme, in December 1964. A culmination of much of Coltrane's work up to this point, this four-part suite is an ode to his faith in and love for God. These spiritual concerns characterized much of Coltrane's composing and playing from this point onwards—as can be seen from album titles such as Ascension, Om and Meditations. The fourth movement of A Love Supreme, "Psalm", is, in fact, a musical setting for an original poem to God written by Coltrane, and printed in the album's liner notes. Coltrane plays almost exactly one note for each syllable of the poem, and bases his phrasing on the words. The album was composed at Coltrane's home in Dix Hills on Long Island.

Toward the end of his career, he experimented with flute in his live performances and studio recordings (Live at the Village Vanguard Again!, Expression). After Eric Dolphy died in June 1964, his mother gave Coltrane his flute and bass clarinet.

About the break up, Naima said in J. C. Thomas's Chasin' the Trane, "I could feel it was going to happen sooner or later, so I wasn't really surprised when John moved out of the house in the summer of 1963. He didn't offer any explanation. He just told me there were things he had to do, and he left only with his clothes and his horns. He stayed in a hotel sometimes, other times with his mother in Philadelphia. All he said was, 'Naima, I'm going to make a change.' Even though I could feel it coming, it hurt, and I didn't get over it for at least another year." But Coltrane kept a close relationship with Naima, even calling her in 1964 to tell her that 90% of his playing would be prayer. They remained in touch until his death in 1967. Naima Coltrane died of a heart attack in October 1996.

1965

In June 1965, he went into Van Gelder's studio with ten other musicians (including Shepp, Pharoah Sanders, Freddie Hubbard, Marion Brown, and John Tchicai) to record Ascension, a 38-minute piece that included solos by young avant-garde musicians. The album was controversial primarily for the collective improvisation sections that separated the solos. After recording with the quartet over the next few months, Coltrane invited Sanders to join the band in September 1965. While Coltrane frequently used overblowing as an emotional exclamation-point, Sanders "was involved in the search for 'human' sounds on his instrument," employing "a tone which blasted like a blow torch" and drastically expanding the vocabulary of his horn by employing multiphonics, growling, and "high register squeals [that] could imitate not only the human song but the human cry and shriek as well." Regarding Coltrane's decision to add Sanders to the band, Gary Giddins wrote "Those who had followed Coltrane to the edge of the galaxy now had the added challenge of a player who appeared to have little contact with earth."

By late 1965, Coltrane was regularly augmenting his group with Sanders and other free jazz musicians. Rashied Ali joined the group as a second drummer. This was the end of the quartet. Claiming he was unable to hear himself over the two drummers, Tyner left the band shortly after the recording of Meditations. Jones left in early 1966, dissatisfied by sharing drumming duties with Ali. After Coltrane's death, Tyner and Jones in interviews expressed displeasure with the music's direction, while incorporating some of the free-jazz form's intensity in their solo work.

There is speculation that in 1965 Coltrane began using LSD, informing the "cosmic" transcendence of his late period. After the departure of Tyner and Jones, Coltrane led a quintet with Sanders on tenor saxophone, his second wife Alice Coltrane on piano, Garrison on bass, and Ali on drums. Coltrane and Sanders were described by Nat Hentoff as "speaking in tongues". When touring, the group was known for playing long versions of their repertoire, many stretching beyond 30 minutes to an hour. In concert, solos by band members often extended beyond fifteen minutes.

According to drummer Rashied Ali, Coltrane had an interest in the drums. He would often have a spare drum set on concert stages that he would play. His interest in the drums and his penchant for having solos with the drums resonated on tracks such as "Pursuance" and "The Drum Thing" from A Love Supreme and Crescent, respectively. It resulted in the album Interstellar Space with Ali. In an interview with Nat Hentoff in late 1965 or early 1966, Coltrane stated: "I feel the need for more time, more rhythm all around me. And with more than one drummer, the rhythm can be more multi-directional." In an August 1966 interview with Frank Kofsky, Coltrane repeatedly emphasized his affinity for drums, saying "I feel so strongly about drums, I really do." Later that year, Coltrane would record the music released posthumously on Offering: Live at Temple University, which features Ali on drums supplemented by three percussionists.

In October 1965, Coltrane recorded Om, referring to the sacred syllable in Hinduism, which symbolizes the infinite or the entire universe. Coltrane described Om as the "first syllable, the primal word, the word of power". The 29-minute recording contains chants from the Hindu Bhagavad Gita and the Buddhist Tibetan Book of the Dead, and a recitation of a passage describing the primal verbalization "om" as a cosmic/spiritual common denominator in all things.

In 1965, Coltrane was inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame. In 1972, A Love Supreme was certified gold by the RIAA for selling over half a million copies in Japan. This album was certified gold in the United States in 2001. In 1982 he was awarded a posthumous Grammy for Best Jazz Solo Performance on the album Bye Bye Blackbird, and in 1997 he was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2002, scholar Molefi Kete Asante named him one of his 100 Greatest African Americans. He 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.

1966

Although he rarely played alto, he owned a prototype Yamaha alto saxophone given to him by the company as an endorsement in 1966. He can be heard playing it on live albums recorded in Japan, such as Second Night in Tokyo, and is pictured using it on the cover of the compilation Live in Japan. He can also be heard playing the Yamaha alto on the album Stellar Regions.

1967

The group can be heard on several concert recordings from 1966, including Live at the Village Vanguard Again! and Live in Japan. In 1967, Coltrane entered the studio several times. Although pieces with Sanders have surfaced (the unusual "To Be" has both men on flute), most of the recordings were either with the quartet minus Sanders (Expression and Stellar Regions) or as a duo with Ali. The latter duo produced six performances that appear on the album Interstellar Space.

Coltrane died of liver cancer at the age of 40 on July 17, 1967, at Huntington Hospital on Long Island. His funeral was held four days later at St. Peter's Lutheran Church in New York City. The service was started by the Albert Ayler Quartet and finished by the Ornette Coleman Quartet. Coltrane is buried at Pinelawn Cemetery in Farmingdale, New York.

1990

An early documentary on Jazz was made in 1990 by fellow musician Robert Palmer, called The World According to John Coltrane.

1993

During the later part of 1957 Coltrane worked with Thelonious Monk at New York's Five Spot Café, and played in Monk's quartet (July–December 1957), but, owing to contractual conflicts, took part in only one official studio recording session with this group. Coltrane recorded many albums for Prestige under his own name at this time, but Monk refused to record for his old label. A private recording made by Juanita Naima Coltrane of a 1958 reunion of the group was issued by Blue Note Records as Live at the Five Spot—Discovery! in 1993. A high quality tape of a concert given by this quartet in November 1957 was also found later, and was released by Blue Note in 2005. Recorded by Voice of America, the performances confirm the group's reputation, and the resulting album, Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall, is widely acclaimed.

1999

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. Their son Ravi, named after Ravi Shankar, is also a saxophonist.

2002

The quartet played A Love Supreme live only once—in July 1965 at a concert in Antibes, France. A recording of this concert was released by Impulse! in 2002 on the remastered Deluxe Edition of A Love Supreme, and again in 2015 on the "Super Deluxe Edition" of The Complete Masters.

2005

Coltrane's tenor (Selmer Mark VI, serial number 125571, dated 1965) and soprano (Selmer Mark VI, serial number 99626, dated 1962) saxophones were auctioned on February 20, 2005 to raise money for the John Coltrane Foundation.

2019

On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed John Coltrane among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.

🎂 Upcoming Birthday

Currently, John Coltrane is 96 years, 0 months and 5 days old. John Coltrane will celebrate 97th birthday on a Saturday 23rd of September 2023.

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