(1926 - 1967)
One of the most innovative, influential and controversial figures in Jazz was North Carolinaborn John Coltrane. A musician of deep emotion and spirituality, Coltrane passed away at the age of 40, leaving Jazz forever changed. Coltrane began playing the clarinet in his early teens, later switching to alto and then tenor sax. He became a music professional in Philadelphia, and played in bands led by Eddie “Cleanhead” inson, Jimmy Heath, Howard McGhee and Dizzy Gillespie. Coltrane began to make Jazz history upon joining Miles Davis’ Quintet in 1955, appearing as a revelatory sideman on Davis’s last five Prestige releases and the Davis Quintet’s Columbia Records debut, ‘Round About Midnight. Davis and Coltrane had an on-again, off-again musical relationship for several years, which resulted in some brilliant studio and live performances, including the acclaimed Kind of Blue. During these years, Coltrane also worked with Thelonious Monk and began to come into his own as a leader with such albums as Blue Trane, Giant Steps -- the 1960 collection that made him a star -- and My Favorite Things, which featured Coltrane’s signature version of the Rodgers & Hammerstein standard. The last few years of his life found Coltrane at Impulse! Records, where he moved deeper into the avant-garde on such releases as A Love Supreme and Ascension. Coltrane died of liver cancer in 1967, but his recordings and his life generate continued interest and inspiration.