John William Coltrane or better known as John Coltrane; the greatest legend of jazz was one of the most influential and successful jazz artists of the twentieth century. With the ability to create divine and harmonious melodies, this jazz saxophonist and composer had magic in his music. With his soul-soothing and smooth saxophone music, he ruled the hearts of millions of people, creating music that transcended cultural boundaries and made people experience pure bliss. His music portrayed powerful emotions and messages, which were aimed to spread positivity, hope, and connect people with his marvelous musical creations. Influencing and impacting the jazz music genre, he gave the world some of the best jazz that people had never experienced.
Born in Hamlet, North Carolina on September 23rd, 1926, John Coltrane grew up with his parents attending the William Penn High School. But, soon after tragedy struck his family and his father, aunt and grandparents died. Left with only his mother, Coltrane moved to Philadelphia with his mother. The first time John ever experienced and saw a saxophone was when his mother gifted him one. And gradually, he started to work on his musical skills by playing an alto saxophone in his high school. Eventually, John enlisted in the U.S. Navy on August 6th, 1945, and was trained as an apprentice seaman and was later stationed in Pearl Harbor. And since music has embedded itself into his soul, Coltrane started earning a name and reputation for his amazing musical skills, often performing with Navy musicians and bands.
After being discharged from the Navy, John Coltrane returned to Philadelphia and started to dwell on the exciting and indulging world of music. Soon after, he joined a band led by Jimmy Heath and also started studying jazz theory along with guitarist Dennis Sandole. And later on in 1955, when John was studying and freelancing as a jazz musician, he got the opportunity to work with some incredible jazz artists, and together they released several beautiful and melodious influential recordings. One of his most successful and influential albums from this period was the “Blue Train”, which featured trumpeter Lee Morgan, bassist Paul Chambers, and trombonist Curtis Fuller. Coltrane was later introduced to Miles Davis and he joined the group ‘The Miles Davis Quintet, which had a record contract from Colombia Records. They went on to release several legendary albums such as “Round About Midnight” and “Kind of Blue”.
Towards the end of this period, John Coltrane recorded the album titled “Giant Steps”, which was done with Atlantic Records. It is one of his most amazing and difficult album to date, having some of the most difficult chord progressions of any widely-played jazz composition. And this way he progressed into his remarkable musical journey, creating marvelous new recordings and delivering stellar creations, which made him a legend of jazz. In the 1960s, Coltrane showed interest in the avant-garde jazz and was influenced by this musical style, and it made him create wonderful fusions of various styles of jazz, which were widely acclaimed and loved. Over the next few years, he recorded some of his greatest albums which included “Duke Ellington and John Coltrane”, “Impressions” and “Live at Birdland”. And one of his globally acclaimed albums “A Love Supreme” went on to become a super hit and was pure gold, often considered as a hallmark by jazz artists around the globe.
Having led over fifty recording sessions and appearing on various music albums by other artists, which includes Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, and various other jazz legends, Coltrane lead a wonderful musical journey and career. Receiving numerous prestigious awards including canonization by the African Orthodox Church and also a Pulitzer Prize, he is one of the most legendary jazz artists of all time. We are truly blessed to have experienced the creations of such phenomenal jazz musicians like John Coltrane, and his music will continue to live on in our hearts forever.