John Coltrane

John William Coltrane was an American jazz saxophonist and composer. Working in the bebop and hard bop idioms early in his career, Coltrane helped pioneer the use of modal jazz and was at the forefront of avant-garde jazz. He led at least fifty recording sessions and appeared on many albums by other musicians, including trumpeter Miles Davis and pianist Thelonious Monk. Over the course of his career, Coltrane’s music took on an increasingly spiritual dimension.

In the Fall of 1955 Coltrane became a member or Miles Davis’ band, which became known as the “First Great Quintet” — along with Red Garland on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Philly Joe Jones on drums from October 1955 to April 1957. This quintet, represented by two marathon recording sessions for Prestige in 1956, resulted in the albums Cookin,’ Relaxin’, Workin’, and Steamin’. Later on in the 1950’s after a stint with Thelonius Monk, Coltrane would re-join Miles for a series of recordings including the sessions that produced the seminal Kind of Blue Album with fellow band mates Julian “Cannonball” Adderly, Bill Evans, Wynton Kelly, Joe Chambers, Philly Joe Jones, and Jimmy Cobb.

Subsequently he would set off on solo career, taping sessions for Atlantic Records [including Giant Steps featured here] and several albums for !Impulse! Records which included The John Coltrane Quartet Plays also excerpted here.

In 1965, Coltrane was inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame. In 1972, A Love Supreme was certified gold by the RIAA for selling over half a million copies in Japan. This album was certified gold in the United States in 2001. In 1982 he was awarded a posthumous Grammy for Best Jazz Solo Performance on the album Bye Bye Blackbird, and in 1997 he was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

The John Coltrane Quartet Plays …

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