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John William Coltrane

            John Coltrane: An Experimental Musician.
             Jazz, which evolved from African American folk music, has developed and changed over the last century to become an art form in America. It places particular importance on inventive self interpretation. Rather than relying on a written piece, the artist improvises. Jazz has taken many forms over the past seventy years; there is almost always a single person who can be credited with the evolution of that sound. From Thelonius Monk, and his bebop, to Dizzy Gillespie's big band, to Miles Davis' cool jazz, or to John Coltrane's free jazz; America's music has been developed and refined countless times through individual experimentation and innovation. In my opinion the most noteworthy artist in the development of modern jazz is John Coltrane. In this paper, I will focus on the way in which Coltrane's musical originality was related to the sounds of his predecessors and to the tribulations and tragedies of his life.
             was born in Hamlet, North Carolina, on September 23, 1926. Two months later, his family moved to High Point, North Carolina. He grew up in a typical black family in the South. The Coltranes were very religious and steeped in tradition. Playing was in his blood. Both of his parents were musicians, his mother was a member of the church choir and his father played the violin. For several years, young Coltrane played the clarinet, however it wasn t his passion. It was only after he heard the great alto saxophonist Johnny Hodges playing with the Duke Ellington band on the radio, that he became enthusiastic about music. He dropped the clarinet to take up the alto saxophone, before long he had mastered it.
             At the young age of thirteen, he experienced several tragedies that would affect his life forever and would greatly impact his music later in life. Within a year, his father, his uncle, and his minister all died. He lost every important male influence in his life.

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