John Coltrane |  Artist

John Coltrane | Artist

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John William Coltrane aka "Trane" was an American jazz saxophonist and composer born 1926 in Hamlet, North Carolina. Starting out he played bebop and hard bop inspired by Charlie Parker. He then worked backup to jazz pioneers such as Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk, playing on countless classic jazz albums. Trane himself laid down some of the finest Jazz albums ever recorded and his style became ever more experimental over the course of his life. As a boy living in Philadelphia 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 in a cocktail lounge trio. 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. 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 all-White Melody Masters, the base swing band. 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. Coltrane went on to play with fellow jazz greats Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk and Miles Davis, then formed his own Quartet, which released dozens of classic albums including the iconic A Love Supreme. Up until his death in 1967, Coltrane released 44 studio albums. There have also been countless posthumous releases of archival studio and live material. In a catalogue of masterpieces, standouts include Blue Trane, Giant Steps, Lush Life, My Favourite Things, Africa/Brass, Ole, Coltrane, Ballads, Crescent, A Love Supreme, Meditations and Sun Ship, plus the live albums Live at the Village Vanguard, Impressions, Live at Birdland and The Olatunji Concert. John Coltrane's second wife was pianist and harpist Alice Coltrane. The couple had three children: John Jr. (1964–1982), a bassist; Ravi (born 1965), a saxophonist; and Oran (born 1967), also a saxophonist. He was awarded a special Pulitzer Prize in 2007 citing his "masterful improvisation, supreme musicianship and iconic centrality to the history of jazz."

Artist Website: johncoltrane.com

Featured Albums: John Coltrane

Related Artists: Miles Davis, Alice Coltrane

Video Clips: My Favourite Things, Walkin', Alabama

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