John Coltrane

John Coltrane (kōltrān´, kōl´trān), 1926–67, American jazz musician, b. Hamlet, N.C. He began playing tenor saxophone as an adolescent. Coltrane worked with numerous big bands before emerging in the mid-1950s as a major stylist while playing as a sideman with Miles Davis. Originally influenced by Lester Young, Coltrane displayed in his playing a dazzling technical brilliance combined with ardent emotion and eventually a kind of mysticism. His style, which was at once sonorous and spare, was influenced by the rhythms and tonal structure of African and Asian music. Coltrane made a number of influential recordings, among them the modal-jazz classics My Favorite Things (1961) and A Love Supreme (1964), and the later exemplars of free jazz, Ascension and Interstellar Space, his final album. From the late 1950s until his death he was considered the outstanding tenor and soprano saxophonist of the jazz avant-garde, and his music continues to be a strong source of inspiration to jazz and pop musicians.

See biographies by E. Nisenson (1994) and L. Porter (1998); B. Ratliff, Coltrane: The Story of a Sound (2007); L. Brown, John Coltrane and Black America's Quest for Freedom (2010); discography by Y. Fujioka et al. (1995).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

John Coltrane: Selected full-text books and articles

Jazz: A History By Frank Tirro W. W. Norton, 1993 (2nd edition)
Librarian's tip: "A Central Figure--John Coltrane" begins on p. 383
Ode to John Coltrane: A Jazz Musician's Influence on African American Culture By Early, Gerald The Antioch Review, Vol. 57, No. 3, Summer 1999
Jazz Cultures By David Ake University of California Press, 2002
Librarian's tip: Chap. Five "Jazz 'Traning: John Coltrane and the Conservatory"
Jazz Poetry: From the 1920s to the Present By Sascha Feinstein Praeger, 1997
Librarian's tip: Chap. 6 "The John Coltrane Poem"
Traning the Nineties, or the Present Relevance of John Coltrane's Music of Theophany and Negation By McDonald, Michael Bruce African American Review, Vol. 29, No. 2, Summer 1995
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
The History of Jazz By Ted Gioia Oxford University Press, 1997
Librarian's tip: Discussion of John Coltrane begins on p. 244
Chasin' the Trane By Santoro, Gene The Nation, Vol. 254, No. 14, April 13, 1992
Free Jazz and Free Improvisation: An Encyclopedia By Todd S. Jenkins Greenwood Press, vol.1, 2004
Librarian's tip: "Coltrane, John" begins on p. 100
Mercy, Mercy Me: African-American Culture and the American Sixties By James C. Hall Oxford University Press, 2001
Librarian's tip: Chap. Four "Meditations: John Coltrane and Freedom"
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