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John Coltrane
John Coltrane 1963.jpg
Coltrane, 1963
Background information
Birth name John William Coltrane
Also known as "Trane"
Born (1926-09-23)September 23, 1926
Hamlet, North Carolina, U.S.
Died July 17, 1967(1967-07-17) (aged 40)
Huntington, New York, U.S.
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Saxophonist, composer, bandleader
Instruments Tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, flute, bass clarinet
Years active 1946–1967
Labels Prestige, Blue Note, Atlantic, Impulse!
Associated acts Miles Davis Quintet, John Coltrane Quartet, John Coltrane Quintet

John William "Trane" Coltrane (September 23, 1926 – July 17, 1967) was an American jazz saxophonist and composer.

Coltrane played the bebop and hard bop styles of jazz early in his career, and helped start the use of modes in jazz and later was a very important part of free jazz. He made about fifty recordings as a bandleader, and appeared on many other albums, for example with trumpeter Miles Davis and pianist Thelonious Monk. As his career progressed, Coltrane's music became more spiritual. His second wife was pianist Alice Coltrane, and their son Ravi Coltrane is also a saxophonist.

He influenced many musicians, and is one of the most important tenor saxophonists in jazz history. He got many awards, including Special Citation from the Pulitzer Prize Board in 2007 (many years after his death) for his "masterful improvisation, supreme musicianship and iconic centrality to the history of jazz."


Coltrane icon at St. John Coltrane African Orthodox Church

Coltrane died of liver cancer at Huntington Hospital on Long Island on July 17, 1967, at the age of 40. His funeral was held four days later at St. Peter's Lutheran Church in New York City. The service was opened by the Albert Ayler Quartet and closed by the Ornette Coleman Quartet. Coltrane is buried at Pinelawn Cemetery in Farmingdale, New York. Coltrane's death surprised many in the musical community who were not aware of his condition.

After Coltrane's death, a congregation called the Yardbird Temple in San Francisco began worshiping him. The congregation later became affiliated with the African Orthodox Church; this involved changing Coltrane's status from a god to a saint. The resultant St. John Coltrane African Orthodox Church, San Francisco, is the only African Orthodox church that incorporates Coltrane's music and his lyrics as prayers in its service.


John Coltrane House, 1511 North Thirty-third Street, Philadelphia

The influence Coltrane has had on music spans many 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 entire generations of jazz musicians.

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, as well as My Favorite Things, 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 Coltrane one of his 100 Greatest African Americans.

John Coltrane House, 1511 North Thirty-third Street, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, PA HABS PA,51-PHILA,756-6
John Coltrane House, 1511 North Thirty-third Street, Philadelphia

Coltrane was awarded a special Pulitzer Prize in 2007 citing his supreme musicianship and iconic centrality to the history of jazz." He was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame in 2009.

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.


The discography below lists albums conceived and approved by Coltrane as a leader during his lifetime. It does not include his many releases as a sideman.

Prestige and Blue Note Records

  • Coltrane (debut solo LP) (1957)
  • Blue Train (1957)
  • John Coltrane with the Red Garland Trio (1958)
  • Soultrane (1958)

Atlantic Records

  • Giant Steps (first album entirely of Coltrane compositions) (1960)
  • Coltrane Jazz (first appearance by McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones) (1961)
  • My Favorite Things (1961)
  • Olé Coltrane (features Eric Dolphy, compositions by Coltrane and Tyner) (1961)

Impulse! Records

Paolo Steffan, Portrait of John Coltrane - 2007
Portrait of John Coltrane
  • Africa/Brass (brass arranged by Tyner and Dolphy) (1961)
  • Live! at the Village Vanguard (features Dolphy, first appearance by Jimmy Garrison) (1962)
  • Coltrane (first album to solely feature the "classic quartet") (1962)
  • Duke Ellington & John Coltrane (1963)
  • Ballads (1963)
  • John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman (1963)
  • Impressions (1963)
  • Live at Birdland (1964)
  • Crescent (1964)
  • A Love Supreme (1965)
  • The John Coltrane Quartet Plays (1965)
  • Ascension (quartet plus six horns and bass, one 40' track collective improvisation) (1966)
  • New Thing at Newport (live album split with Archie Shepp) (1966)
  • Meditations (quartet plus Pharoah Sanders and Rashied Ali) (1966)
  • Live at the Village Vanguard Again! (1966)
  • Kulu Sé Mama (1967)
  • Expression (posthumous and final Coltrane-approved release; one track features Coltrane on flute) (1967)

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