Happy Birthday, John Coltrane

John William Coltrane, or “Trane,” as he was better known, is considered one of the leading saxaphonists and composers of his time, in what turned out to be a time cut way too short by liver cancer at the age of 40. He was the epitome of the modern Jazz style, reshaping the genre and influencing generations of other musicians that followed him. He was a student more than anything, though, soaking up all that he could from mentors like bandleaders Dizzy Gillespie and Duke Ellington, and composer Dennis Sandole. It was during a twelve-year stint, from 1955 to 1967 — the year of his death — that Trane literally took giant steps, changing the game. During that stretch he recorded more than 50 albums, while appearing on many more in a supporting role with artists like Thelonius Monk and Miles Davis on classic projects, including Monk’s Music with the former, and Kind of Blue and Milestones with the latter. His work with his own quintet produced a litany of influential albums like Blue Train, the extraordinary Giant Steps, the hugely successful My Favorite Things and the masterpiece A Love Supreme. His Village Vanguard work is regarded as the first fusion of Jazz and Rock. And as with most great artists, his legacy continued to grow after his death, with some of our favorite artists, from Erykah Badu to OutKast, borrowing from and building on his style. That he was born on this date is something special. That he was able to do so much for his art in so little time is even more so. Happy Birthday, Trane. You were a monster on the sax and a true tastemaker for your generation and ours. We thank you for contributing all that you did, for giving us some of our favorite things.

Some special Trane treats await after the bounce to help celebrate the day.

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John Coltrane: “My Favorite Things”

John Coltrane & Duke Ellington: “In A Sentimental Mood”

[Image: Jim Marshall]

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