In this article, we will discuss some of the unexpected aspects of John Coltrane’s life. These ten quick facts will help us understand the artist’s lifestyle.
10 Facts You Probably Did Not Know About John Coltrane
The jazz legend was only 40 years old when he died, but during his brief life he forever altered music. The jazz luminary John Coltrane died of liver cancer on July 17, 1967, 50 years ago this week. He was only forty years old.
Coltrane, widely regarded as one of the greatest musicians of the modern era, played with Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie before embarking on a groundbreaking solo career that produced some of jazz’s most iconic albums, including My Favorite Things, Blue Train, Giant Steps, Impressions, and his magnum opus, A Love Supreme.
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Here are ten interesting facts:
- John Coltrane (1926-1967) was canonized by the African Orthodox Church following his death. Saint John William Coltrane is his official church designation.
- Coltrane’s playing was characterized by his ability to play a flurry of harmonizing notes within each measure. One critic termed these rapid successions of three notes as “sheets of sound.” When asked about these moving improvisations, John Coltrane once remarked that it was as if he began playing “in the middle of a sentence and simultaneously moved in both directions.”
- Miles Davis and John Coltrane collaborated on numerous albums, including ‘Round About Midnight and the legendary Kind of Blue, but they eventually split due to Coltrane’s heroin addiction.
- After leaving Miles Davis in 1960, Coltrane studied the music of Africa and India in an effort to improve his already magnificent playing. This enabled him to master his soprano saxophone playing technique.
- In the 1950s, after ceasing drugs, he claimed to have heard God’s voice. Following this experience, he resolved to be a positive force in the world.
- Coltrane’s father, as well as another family, died in 1939. This put him, his mother, and his siblings in financial difficulty. His mother and siblings relocated from North Carolina to New Jersey in search of financial security, but Coltrane remained in North Carolina to complete high school.
- He studied music in Philadelphia for a short period before being called up to join the Navy in 1943. He first appeared on a tape as a member of the Navy band.
- Critics hailed his album, A Love Supreme, as one of the finest jazz albums of all time. Despite only having four suites, the album received two Grammy nominations.
- Coltrane’s most significant accolades were bestowed upon him posthumously. The first was the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1992, followed by a special recognition from the Pulitzer Prize Board for his extensive catalog of recordings, some of which are still being discovered.
- He released 45 studio albums, 23 compilation albums, and 19 singles over his career.
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