The world lost jazz saxophonist and composer John Coltrane 50 years ago

July 17, 2017

American jazz saxophonist and composer John Coltrane

lost his life on July 17, 1967 to liver cancer

in Huntington Hospital on Long Island, New York

at a very young age of 40 years old


Coltrane worked with 

Miles Davis

Dizzy Gillespie and many other notable musicians


John Coltrane was always surrounded by music

His father played several instruments

sparking Coltrane’s study of E-flat horn and clarinet


While in high school

Coltrane’s musical influences shifted

to the likes of Lester Young and Johnny Hodges

prompting him to switch to alto saxophone


He continued his musical training in Philadelphia

at Granoff Studios and the Ornstein School of Music


John began playing tenor saxophone

with the Eddie "CleanHead" Vinson Band

Coltrane was later quoted as saying

"A wider area of listening opened up for me

There were many things that people like

Hawk, and Ben and Tab Smith

were doing in the ‘40’s that I didn’t understand,

but that I felt emotionally"


Prior to joining the Dizzy Gillespie band

Coltrane performed with Jimmy Heath

where his passion for experimentation began to take shape


It was his work with the Miles Davis Quintet in 1958

that would lead to his own musical evolution

" Miles music gave me plenty of freedom," John once said


During that period he became known

for using the three-on-one chord approach

and what has been called the ‘sheets of sound’

a method of playing multiple notes at one time


In 1960 Coltrane had formed his own quartet

which included pianist McCoy Tyner

drummer Elvin Jones and bassist Jimmy Garrison

eventually adding players like Eric Dolphy

and Pharoah Sanders


The John Coltrane Quartet

created some of the most innovative and expressive music

in Jazz history including the hit albums


"My Favorite Things"

"Africa Brass"


"Giant Steps"

and his monumental work

"A Love Supreme"

which attests to the power, glory, love, and greatness of God


John Coltrane felt

John Coltrane's music was an instrument

to create positive thought patterns in the minds of people

"we must all make a conscious effort

to effect positive change in the world"

John Coltrane



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