John William Coltrane was an American jazz saxophonist and composer. Despite living only 40 years, Coltrane is often considered one of the most important musicians in jazz music.
For a start, people often say he’s one of the best jazz sax players ever. His solos were ground-breaking, and by his 30’s Coltrane had worked the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk and Miles Davis.
But just playing wasn’t enough for Coltrane; soon he was making a name for himself as a composer too! By 1965, he’d released some earth-shattering albums, including ‘Impressions’, ‘My Favourite Things’ and ‘A Love Supreme’.
In 1992, more than 30 years after his death, John Coltrane was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement award.
Coltrane changed his style radically over the course of his career and there remains a critical divide between the adherents of his earlier, more conventional (if still highly imaginative) work and his later, more experimental work in which he played seemingly formless, extended solos that some said were tremendously impressive, and others decried as noise.
In the mid-sixties, John Coltrane played a show that would immortalise him; at a Jazz workshop in San Francisco, he played for an audience who would be the eventual founders of the Church of Saint John Will-I-Am Coltrane. The Church is still running today, and Coltrane is on the official list of Saints.
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- Black History Month #5
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