Talk:John Coltrane/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2


The musical timeline article referred to Coltrane (in its 1959 item) as Johnny Coltrane. I've never heard this, and changed it. But was this also used - maybe at the time of the recording referred to, or something? I haven't found much evidence for it if so, but maybe someone knows otherwise?? If this was a real usage maybe it needs making explicit in the article. Nevilley 18:52 Jan 15, 2003 (UTC)

It's a new one to me. I suppose he might be called Johnny on ocassion, just as Mozart might have been called "Wolfie Boy", but he certainly didn't release any records under that name, and he doesn't seem to have been called it with any regularity. I could be wrong, of course. --Camembert
I think I've seen Johnnie before, I think, somewhere. Tokerboy
It seems very possible to me that whoever wrote that could very well have been quoting some sort of publication from the 50s in which he was frequently called Johnny, Johnnie, or his last name was spelled: Coltrain, Coaltrane, etc.. By the 60s I think it stopped happening as much, but in the late 50s he was not as respected or well known. Ngoah89 16:13, 10 August 2007 (UTC)


Quote: "Although the music of this period can sometimes sound hectoring and bad-tempered, and not all of it is of even quality" - Is it right to discuss quality or taste in such article?

Although I don't think the quoted sentence is appropriate, I do think it's appropriate to address the issue of taste with respect to Coltrane's music. His later work became very avant-garde. A Love Supreme, for example, is outside many people's musical "comfort zone." Yet it is regarded as a masterpiece by nearly every jazz musician, and it has become one of the best-selling albums in jazz history. I think it's worth mentioning how Coltrane's later work contrasts with popular musical taste, and remains influential even to jazz musicians whose own music is very straight-ahead. Cribcage 05:35, 4 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Really? I thought A Love Supreme was fairly listenable even by people who aren't Jazz musicians or lovers. Now, I know people who have trouble with Ascension...

Well, I love a wide spectrum of jazz -- I can comprehend Bitches Brew while riding the Coney Island rollercoaster -- but A Love Supreme has always left me completely cold. Bunch of atonal honking saxes... -- GWO 14:37, 23 Aug 2004 (UTC)

While I can concede to much of Coltrane's later music of sounding and even being atonal, much of A Love Supreme sound to me very melodic, using interesting inversions of the pentatonic scale in many places A major rewrite/edit of this article is coming shortly, mostly to flesh out certain currently-brief sections, reorganize for content flow, and do some fact correction (Trane never converted to Islam, etc.). If anyone has anything specific about him they'd like me to address, lemme know. Drasil 22:10, 21 Aug 2004 (UTC) A Love Supreme is certainly considered one of the true masterpieces of jazz, alongside, Brilliant Corners (Monk), Kind of Blue (Davis), The Shape of Jazz to Come (Coleman). I'm not a jazz fan by origin but discovered it just through, well musical exploration. I'd agree with the person who said Ascension was a very atonal and "unlistenable". Well, it is, Coltrane is redefining tonality and atonality as he had been listening to lots of twelve-tone composers at the time. I'd say A Love Supreme is slightly easier on the ear. Also, a lot of people but this sort of cosmic atonality down to his LSD use. I'd say it was a combination of both. Certainly a lot of his music is still highly original today and free jazz died out somewhat, due to the jazz-rock movement. I feel it could have been developed further by an alive Coltrane. Knucmo2 23:34, 11th Oct 2004 (UTC) The bit about Gilmore's influence on Coltrane should be moved from the "free jazz" section -- every reference I've read mentions this in context with Coltrane's work in 1961, not in 1965-66. Also, the discussion of "My Favorite Things" doesn't belong in the "free jazz" section either.

"and free jazz died out somewhat, due to the jazz-rock movement. I feel it could have been developed further by an alive Coltrane. Knucmo2 23:34, 11th Oct 2004 (UTC)"
Oh please! Apart from the fact that the jazz-rock movement (i.e. fusion) had NOTHING to do with the free-jazz (The New Thing was developing in another part of the world, for starts; it was mainly a European thing from the start, mainly Scandinavia and Holland), the latter is still very much alive today, with groups such as the Instant Composers Pool (ICP) still receiving major attention. 21:29, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

New thing at newport

I've deleted the sentence about Coltrane and Shepp working together on New thing at Newport. They didn't -- there are separate tracks by Coltrane and Shepp on the album, no "working together". Furthermore, the information was in the wrong place, after the paragraph about Coltrane's death. --Ferdinand Pienaar 14:58, 3 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Islamic convert

If he is a muslim convert to which is categorized into, why is it not mentioned anywhere in the article? Additionally, the article states he resorted to Hindu medicine at his death, but if he was a convert to Islam, why not a muslim healer? Can someone please address these issues? --preceding unsigned comment by VarunRajendran

Thanks for catching that. Coltrane studied many things on his own time, including philosophy and religion. He is famous for saying, "I believe in all religions." (1965). There is no evidence he ever converted to Islam, however he was interested in it, as well as many other types of belief systems. Coltrane was immersed in the Philadelphia jazz scene, many of whose members were Muslims. In 1955, Coltrane married Naima (Juanita Austin), a Muslim woman. By 1957, Coltrane appeared to kick his heroin and alcohol addictions and he experienced a "spiritual awakening" (his words). I suppose it's possible that some people might think he was a "muslim convert" as a result of these events, (and it could be argued that his wife's religious beliefs helped him get sober) but there doesn't appear to be any evidence that Coltrane was a convert. The end result is that I've placed a query on the talk page of FayssalF (the user who added the cat) asking for a cite. --Viriditas 04:52, 3 December 2005 (UTC)

Thanks guys for the notice and the concern. My edit was based on 2 main sources:

In the same time, there are some suggestions on the net about his beliefs. Again, after verifying, nothing is explicitly declaring his conversion:

  • "...People like Diouf, Kubik and Moustafa Bayoumi, an associate professor of English at Brooklyn College, City University of New York, who has researched Islam's connection to American music, are trying to correct the public record. Bayoumi wrote a paper two years ago that examined African Muslim history in the United States in which he argues that John Coltrane's best-known album, "A Love Supreme," features Coltrane saying, "Allah Supreme" in addition to the many refrains of "A Love Supreme.""

I would like to remove reference 17 which is in this subsection of the article - this has nothing to do with Coltrane, only this professor's "agenda." The chants in "Love Supreme" never say this, nor has ANY critic, over 40 years of scrutiny, ever put this in print. It's not pertinent to an article on Coltrane, although by all means if there is a Wiki on Bayoumi, put it there. To me, and to many others, this will seem as disinformation and putting a spin on Coltrane and this album that is patently false. What if I made a claim Coltrane was influenced by seances and some hack newspaper picked it up and printed it - could it then be cited in this article on him? This reference needs to go.HammerFilmFan (talk) 08:26, 18 August 2010 (UTC)HammerFilmFan

  • "...marqué par une véritable "crise mystique" dès 1957, John Coltrane s'est en effet toujours intéressé à la religion, ou plutôt à toutes les religions (l'hindouisme, l'islam via sa première épouse Naima, comme grâce à Alice Mcleod, sa seconde compagne, les cultes africains...) et croit en un Dieu unique, Amour Suprême a qui il dédie cet hymne fluide, d'une incroyable sérénité.", in French
  • "...Spiritual elements are ever present in jazz. Religious ideas were prominent from the outset. Later, musicians of the bop, post bebop and hard bop eras reverted to or took Muslim names. The lyrics of jazz abound in religious influence."
  • "...Coltrane's musical career prior to 1957 is well-documented in numerous biographies, especially Coltrane by C. O. Simpkins and Bill Cole's John Coltrane. These resources detail Coltrane's early career, a discussion of which is superfluous in this context. However, a critical turning point occurred in 1957 when Coltrane, a well-respected but as-yet unheralded 30-year-old saxophonist underwent a profound personal religious transformation inspired by his introduction to the beliefs and discipline of Islam by his first wife, Naima (Budds 136). This experience led Coltrane into a temporary retirement during which he overcame his addictions to alcohol and heroin and practiced fervently."
  • "...Prior to 1957 Coltrane was also influenced by Islam, both during his years in Philadelphia and also through his wife Naima. Bill Cole mentions that Cousin Mary's first husband Charles Greenlee was also a devout disciple. Although Coltrane was influenced, he never converted."

Sorry for the incovenience. I have removed that now from List of Muslims in arts and literature as well. Cheers -- Svest 19:13, 3 December 2005 (UTC)  Wiki me up™

I think the issue is solved now. I've just added a new section called 'Coltrane and religious beliefs to make thing very clear and add depth to the article. Please review. Cheers -- Svest 02:52, 4 December 2005 (UTC)  Wiki me up™

Problems with this article

If I don't get around to editing them, then here they are as I see them

  • Giant Steps only mentioned in passing, no mention of its innovation, Coltrane's stunning solos, the complex harmony, the "Coltrane changes" that would be come familiar in years to come. Basically, Giant Steps was the last watershed, and arguably the curtain call of the complexity of bebop (of course bebop would influence the rest of jazz).
  • All of his formative years with and without Miles are grouped under a heading that is only relevant for part of it.--Knucmo2 22:23, 15 January 2006 (UTC)
Changed heading to "Miles, Monk and early record dates as leader", which is too cumbersome, though "Record dates as leader 1957-61" is a section which cannot yet be created as the article stands. Philip Cross 19:51, 16 January 2006 (UTC)
  • My Favorite Things is not the first album in Coltrane's new quartet. Isn't it Giant Steps?
  • The order of his instruments that he plays should order them by which ones he played the most, correct? I'll rearrange it and if it gets kicked back let me know why. Robert 00:35, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

Family Life

It would be nice for casual readers to see how many times Coltrane was married (especially since "Naima" is such a well-known composition of his) and how many children he had. Also where he lived (Long Island, towards the end, right?). --Neil H. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:51, 5 September 2007 (UTC)

Verification request

  • Allmusic's biography on Coltrane reads that it was Coltrane's Uncle, not his Aunt that died in 1939.
  • In Michael Segell's book "The Devil's Horn," he writes of how Coltrane first met Charlie Parker while he was playing at the Downbeat in Philadelphia, and played on stage with him at a benefit concert.

Can someone verify this and make the changes if needed? I'm rather new to Wikipedia, and don't quite understand how it all works yet. Celisbored 03:10, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

Coltrane's aunt, Effie Blair, died in 1938, followed by his grandfather. In 1939, his father and grandmother died. As for Bird, I'm not sure, but apparently Coltrane first met Bird on June 5, 1945. The benefit did not occur until December 7, 1947. —Viriditas | Talk 04:42, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
That makes sense, on a re-read, the book merely implies that the meeting was the reason that Coltrane gave up playing the alto saxophone. I'll look through some of the books I have to see if there's anything a little more clear. Celisbored 05:56, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

Jerry Garcia?

I am unfamiliar with Coltrane's influence on Garcia. My understanding is that it was Phil Lesh, bassist for the Grateful Dead, who first played "A Love Supreme" for the rest of the band, and was the one who was most deeply impacted by the complexity and spirituality of Coltrane's playing. ---Charles 02:26, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

Beautifully written page

Kudos to all who contributed to this page. It was a pure joy to read. I found one tiny error in grammar and corrected it as I didn't want to leave a flaw on the page. Thanks again to you all! Does anyone know if Coltrane was the inspiration for Spike Lee's "Mo' Better Blues"? Solidpoint 10:42, 24 October 2006 (UTC)

The Album Transition

Is there any reason why this keeps getting deleted from the selected discography? I have added it three times now and it's been deleted twice. I know the album exists. I have it. Could whoevers deleting it please leave it in place now or at least provide a reason why they object to it. SmokeyTheFatCat 11:05, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

It definitely exists, and it's definitely good, but there's way too much in the "selected" discography already, and, since Transition is not listed in the Penguin Guide, I made the judgment that it's probably not significant enough to warrant being "selected". - Maggie -- 17:42, 27 December 2006 (UTC)

It is worth noting, however, that the Penguin guide frequently omits items they they (sometimes erroneously) think are currently out of print. So using that as a guide for inclusion is not necessarily the way to go in all instances.


"Some of Coltrane's other innovations would be incorporated into the fusion movement, but with diminishing returns of spiritual fervency and earnestness." Sounds like subjective personal point of view to me, not unbiased, objective factual observation. I don't see any reason to link the following passage on rock guitarists inspired by Coltrane with this subjective stance (it colors their work as inherently inferior and lacking its own "spiritual fervency"). New paragraph needed, and inserted. Also added a reference for Allan Holdsworth. Allan has cited Coltrane many times as an inspiration and critics continue to draw parallels between Allan's style and Coltrane's style. References for Allan Holdsworth citing Coltrane as an inspiration are replete across the internet vis-a-vis interviews, magazine articles, his Wiki entry here, as well as his own site ( Chrism07924 10:57, 24 December 2006 (UTC)

Selected Discography

One thing we should all realize is that there isn't enough space in this article for a complete Coltrane discography. There are literally hundreds of albums out under his name! So out-of-print obscurities like Om and cobbled-together posthumous quasi-compilations like Living Space and Kulu Se Mama probably don't belong. In order to keep this article down to a manageable size, we should probably limit ourselves to albums that are well-known and widely acclaimed (or notorious), with maybe one or two allowances to keep the periods balanced. But the fact that an album exists doesn't mean it's notable enough to warrant discussion in a selected discography, which is supposed to be a kind of "quick reference". Unless, of course, someone wants to create a separate article - John Coltrane discography. Hop to it, gentlemen! In fact, I'm going to go ahead and be presumptuous and link to it in the article. -Maggie -- 16:03, 1 January 2007 (UTC) I've pared down the discography a bit, but perhaps we should make it even shorter or eliminate it, as there is John Coltrane discography. The Miles Davis article omits the selected discography, and that might help make the article snappier. Or, just keep the really essential stuff, i.e. only list Kind of Blue, Blue Train, Giant Steps, My Favorite Things and Ascension. Then again, that might lead to a debate over what is essential.Editor437 05:42, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

Could everyone who keeps adding to the discography section here please note the heading
Discography below lists albums conceived and approved by Coltrane as a leader during his lifetime. It does not include his many releases as a sideman, sessions assembled into albums by various record labels after Coltrane's contract expired, sessions with Coltrane as a sideman later reissued with his name featured more prominently, or posthumous compilations except for the one which he approved before his death. See main discography link above for full list.
Coltrane, as much as any recording artist of the 20th Century, suffered from a deluge of outtakes at recording sessions assembled into albums, some while he was still alive and now signed to a new record company. While containing fine music, both Coltrane Plays the Blues and Coltrane's Sound were recorded at the sessions for My Favorite Things, these tracks assembled into albums by Atlantic Records AFTER COLTRANE HAD LEFT THE LABEL AND WITHOUT HIS INPUT. They belong in the main article for his discography, but not here. This section serves a useful function in differentiating the releases Coltrane actually worked on and approved against the flood of releases made without his approval while alive or assembled after his death. If you go to the online catalogue index, you can tell by company catalogue number the sequence in which titles were released and/or renamed. Similarly, Live at the Half Note: One Down, One Up, Sun Ship and Cosmic Music are posthumous releases on Impulse Records, and do not belong on this list. Although the cover art of the current CD indicates a later vintage, Kulu Se Mama carrying an Impulse early 9100 series catalogue number was released in 1965 and belongs here. Please make no further edits to this list unless omissions are found in the Prestige catalogue - it covers all the Blue Note, Atlantic, and Impulse! releases authorized by Coltrane himself. Thanks.PJtP (talk) 18:58, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

New References to John Coltrane in popular culture

The list was getting rather lengthy, so rather rather eliminating every passing name-check in someone's lyrics, I started the new article to accommodate the full list. It is fine to leave the more significant references on the main article, and I have tried to retain references by more notable people (while preserving a diversity of sources - songs, rap, movies, and television.) Nposs 05:02, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

"widely considered by some" as masterpieces

(Under Legacy). I think this phrase needs work; not sure how to improve it, but it feels awkward. - 16:43, 24 April 2007 (UTC) I agree. I actually went to the talk page just to find out I'm not the first one to react to it. The mentioned albums do sound like noise to the "untrained ear", but I have the impressions that the people who do think they are masterpieces know what they are talking about. Maybe some citations to jazz connoiseurs could help? As the page is written so well I don't want to edit the page myself, but if anyone take this one up, here's a couple of review links that may help:
[Ascension review at All About Jazz]
[Interstellar Space review at All About Jazz]Pharaohmø 19:53, 25 April 2007 (UTC) When did John Coltrane move to Philadelphia? The article mentions him going to William Penn high school (in Philadelphia), then says he moved to Philadelphia in june 1943 this is confusing. 01:37, 3 August 2007 (UTC) FXO

"which can strike reformed alcoholics years after they quit"

(Under Death). I've never posted here, but here goes...What is the source of the statement: liver cancer can strike a "reformed" alcoholic years after they quit? (Due to the nature of alcoholism, "reformed" is a term discouraged in the "recovery" community. It tends to mislead individuals into believing they can be "cured"; a "think" that can lead to "relapse". "Recovering" is more accurate and preferred, as alcoholics can never be "cured", which makes "recovery" a life-long diligent process.) I've never heard that a recovering alcoholic can be "struck" with liver cancer years after quitting, although I have known cirrhosis to progress and increase. A reference re "liver cancer can strike years later" would help. Thank you. Great article! 06:07, 26 August 2007 (UTC) -- um we don't really need AA propaganda here. Of course alcoholism can be 'cured' the idea that it cannot is preposterous. Don't believe the hype! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:44, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

Hi - I'm a doctor specializing in liver disease - maybe I can help. Anyone with cirrhosis is at increased risk for developing liver cancer, whether or not the patient is still drinking. Of course, alcohol abuse does not always (or even usually) lead to cirrhosis, and cirrhosis can be caused by things other than alcohol, such as viral hepatitis. Hepatitis B and hepatitis C are very commonly contracted through injection drug use, and we know Coltrane used heroin in the 1950s. So, it is very possible that he had one or both of these viruses. As to whether Coltrane had cirrhosis, I am not familiar with any primary documentation (death certificate or autopsy report), but at least 75% of liver cancers occur in people with underlying cirrhosis. So, I don't think it is controversial to suggest that hepatitis may have played a role in Coltrane's death. This would in no way imply that he was still using drugs or drinking near the end of his life. I put in a brief edit to this effect a few weeks ago, and was disappointed that it was immediately reverted - David Bruce, M.D., Ochsner Clinic, New Orleans. p.s. - it is not "AA propaganda" to say that alcoholism is never really "cured", only put into remission. Alcoholics are indeed at lifelong risk of relapse, and it is extremely unusual for an alcoholic to be able to drink again in a controlled, social fashion. However, it is not unusual for a reformed alcoholic to be able to remain abstinent, if that is what you mean by "cure". (talk) 23:48, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

Added Album Reference

Hi all, I added 'The Olatunji Concert' to the list of late last albums that state some as a 'cacophany of sound'. Please remove it as you feel free is you disagree with this being listed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:05, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

Removal of Album Covers

It's a shame all the album covers are being removed from the album pages. It seems to me they are all fair use, but I don't have the time or the energy to make the argument for each and every darn one. Editor437 13:41, 6 November 2007 (UTC)

Please don't remove the ones that already have an argument! -MrFizyx 21:01, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

In popular culture

Please prosify this list with references and add it back into the article if needed. —Viriditas | Talk 01:07, 9 December 2007 (UTC) Many songs and film or television dramas reference Coltrane's name or style in passing. In addition to these:

  • The Byrds song "Eight Miles High" was said by Roger McGuinn as being influenced by Coltrane, especially the 12-string guitar solo.
  • The Gil Scott-Heron song "Lady Day and John Coltrane", from Pieces of a Man.
  • The Mountain Goats' song "My Favorite Things" contains references both titular (Coltrane's popular version of The Sound of Music original) and directly to the artist himself.
  • In an episode of TV-show ,The Simpsons, Lisa has a cat named Coltrane, to which she plays a piece of a John Coltrane composition before it proceeds to jump out of a window.
  • Vanessa Daou named one of her records "Dear John Coltrane", .
  • Philadelphia rapper Reef the Lost Cauze's song "Coltrane", from Feast Or Famine.
  • In Bill Clinton's book My Life, he writes "I knew I would never be John Coltrane", referring to his music career.
  • Punk legend Mike Watt traditionally begins every episode of his long-running internet radio/podcast, The Watt From Pedro Show, with a different John Coltrane song.
  • The 1990 Spike Lee film Mo' Better Blues makes reference to A Love Supreme as the greatest album of all time. Featured prominently in the mise en scene of the film is a large colour print of John Coltrane. Lee originally intended to title the film A Love Supreme, but Coltrane's widow objected due to the film's content.
  • The spoken word poetry group,The Last Poets, references Coltrane and his works several times in their songs.
  • Dear Lord was played in two The Cosby Show episodes, Calling Doctor Huxtable and That's Not What I Said.
  • Also is included in the movie Mr. Hollands Opus. The music teacher Mr. Holland names his son, Cole, after Coltrane.

First wife

Many sources give his first wife's name as Grubbs, not Grubb. Those that give Grubb mostly seem to be copied from Wikipedia. Does this need to be corrected? (talk) 09:07, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

Early life and career (1926–1954)

Why does this section mostly discuss events that occured after 1955? Someone should make some changes here.Jazzzguy (talk) 21:27, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

Checking a version from 20 April last year it appears a large amount of material has been cut from this article, either because of the lack of sources or flawed writing style. Philip Cross (talk) 21:08, 9 August 2008 (UTC)


Is there any reason not to use a photo of Coltrane in this article? There's one at Image:John Coltrane Sax.jpg, which is used in the "Black People" and "Big Band" articles? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sorsoup (talkcontribs) 14:04, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

Reduction in discography

Why remove items from discography? (John User:Jwy talk) 20:11, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

It makes sense to me, since there is already an article with a full discography. No need to deluge readers with too much information. Some articles don't list an albums at all, just a link. I think it makes sense to list key albums, but not too many.Editor437 (talk) 21:04, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
Ah, was only looking at the diff and didn't see the reference to the discography. Thanks for the pointer. It now makes sense to me as well. (John User:Jwy talk) 22:03, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

CfD notice of Category:John Coltrane

Five Spot recordings

I removed the following on the grounds that it is probably an urban myth:

A number of "live" recordings from the Five Spot, most of them deriving from tapes made by audience members (and therefore of relatively poor audio quality) have surfaced over the years, and some have been issued by record companies...

In Brilliant Corners: A Biodiscography (2001), Chris Sheridan refers to a rumour that Juanita Coltrane recorded nine hours of material during the 1957 residency (p79), but that the 1958 performances are "the only documentary evidence found so far" (p88). On p80, the Carneigie Hall recording which surfaced in 2005 is "rumoured to exist". That seems significant enough to place in Monk's article. Philip Cross (talk) 15:47, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

Legacy (again)

I removed this paragraph from the legacy section, and bring it here for discussion:

Although some jazz listeners still consider the late Coltrane albums to contain little more than a cacophony, many of these late recordings—among them Ascension, Meditations, and the posthumous Interstellar Space—are widely considered masterpieces.

This paragraph has been altered a number of times of late, including by me, but the one thing that has not been done is finding sources for these claims. As it stands, it cannot remain in the article. Frankly, I do not think it will be missed. ---RepublicanJacobiteThe'FortyFive' 16:40, 12 November 2009 (UTC)