John William Coltrane (September 23, 1926 – July 17, 1967) 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 modes and was at the forefront of free 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. He remains one of the most influential saxophonists in music history. He received numerous posthumous awards, including canonization by the African Orthodox Church and a Pulitzer Prize in 2007. His second wife was pianist and harpist Alice Coltrane. The couple had three children: John Jr. (1964–1982), a bassist; Ravi (born 1965), a saxophonist; and Oran (born 1967), also a saxophonist.
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. In 2002, scholar Molefi Kete Asante named him one of his 100 Greatest African Americans. He was awarded a special Pulitzer Prize in 2007 citing his “masterful improvisation, supreme musicianship and iconic centrality to the history of jazz.” He was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame in 2009.
A former home, the John Coltrane House in Philadelphia, was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1999. His last home, the John Coltrane Home in the Dix Hills district of Huntington, New York, where he resided from 1964 until his death, was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 29, 2007. Their son Ravi, named after Ravi Shankar, is also a saxophonist.
The parent company of Impulse!, from 1965 to 1979 known as ABC Records, purged much of its unreleased material in the 1970s.
Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary, is a 2016 American film directed by John Scheinfeld. Narrated by Denzel Washington, the film chronicles the life of Coltrane in his own words and includes interviews with such admirers as Wynton Marsalis, Sonny Rollins, Bill Clinton, and Cornel West.