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A Brief Look Into The Life and Music of John Coltrane

            John Coltrane was born in born in Hamlet, North Carolina on September 23, 1926. His father, John was a tailor who played the violin and ukulele, and his mother Alice played piano and sang in the church choir. This was a great environment to foster his love of music. Coltrane soon moved with his family to the town of High Point, where his grandfather was the pastor of the A.M.E. Zion Church. His family was very religious and this instilled in him a deep devotion in religion. At the age of twelve Coltrane received his first instrument, a clarinet, he played the clarinet for hours on end, that same year Coltrane's father died. A year after Coltrane's father died, his mother decided to move North to Atlantic City to find work. Young Coltrane stayed in North Carolina with relatives. By his senior year, he had learned to play a borrowed alto saxophone and was getting recognition from his classmates and even the locals. Work was hard to find in most of the Southern states in 1943. So when John Coltrane graduated he and two friends decided to move to Philadelphia, where one of the friends' brothers already lived. Coltrane would live in Philadelphia off and on until about 1957. His decision to migrate north was a common one, and Coltrane did indeed find work as a laborer in a sugar-refining factory. A couple of months later he enrolled in the Ornstein School of Music on 19th and Spruce Streets. In Philadelphia John could hear a lot of the blues and jazz, which were not often broadcast in the South further extending his experience and horizons. He continued to practice his sax alone in his room until he was drafted into the Navy band in 1945. He returned to Philadelphia in 1946 after being discharged. At this point in his life Coltrane was totally committed to becoming a professional musician. Coltrane worked a variety of jobs through the late forties until in 1947 he joined Eddie Vinson's jazz band, switching reluctantly to play the tenor sax to do so.

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