Born: September 23, 1926, Hamlet, NC
Died: July 17, 1967, Huntington, NY
Spouse: Alice Coltrane (m. 1966–1967), Juanita Naima Grubbs (m. 1955–1966)
Coltrane’s first musical influence was his father, a tailor and part-time musician. John studied clarinet and alto saxophone as a youth and then moved to Philadelpia in 1943 and continued his studies at the Ornstein School of Music and the Granoff Studios. He was drafted into the navy in 1945 and played alto sax with a navy band until 1946; he switched to tenor saxophone in 1947. During the late 1940s and early ’50s, he played in nightclubs and on recordings with such musicians as Eddie (“Cleanhead”) Vinson, Dizzy Gillespie, Earl Bostic, and Johnny Hodges. Coltrane’s first recorded solo can be heard on Gillespie’s “We Love to Boogie” (1951).
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