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John Coltrane was an American jazz saxophonist, bandleader and composer, and is an iconic figure of 20th century jazz.
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It was a huge recognition of Coltrane's talent and offered the saxophonist the kind of musical and mental space he needed.
Davis encouraged Coltrane to push his experimental boundaries. More important, the sober Davis held him accountable for his drug habits.
Armed with a new record contract from Columbia Records, Davis led his band into the studio. The next several years proved fruitful for the band,
with albums such as The New Miles Davis Quintet (1955) and 'Round About Midnight (1957). He also played on Davis' seminal album Kind of Blue (1959).
In 1957 Davis fired Coltrane, who'd failed to give up heroin. Whether that was the exact impetus for Coltrane finally getting sober isn't certain, but the saxophonist finally did kick his drug habit. He played a six-month stint with Thelonious Monk and then embarked on a solo career.
By this period, Coltrane had created a definite sound of his own. Part of it was defined by an ability to play several notes at once, creating what would be later dubbed as his "sheets of sound."
Coltrane described it this way: "I start in the middle of a sentence and move both directions at once.”
By 1960 Coltrane had his own band, a quartet that included pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison and drummer Elvin Jones. The group, known as the John Coltrane Quartet, produced some of jazz's most enduring albums, including Giant Steps (1960) and My Favorite Things (1961).
The latter album especially catapulted Coltrane to stardom. Over the next several years Coltrane was lauded -- and, to a smaller degree, criticized -- for his sound. His albums from this period included Duke Ellington and John Coltrane (1963), Impressions (1963) and Live at Birdland (1964).
But it was 1965's A Love Supreme that may just be Coltrane's most acclaimed record. The album garnered the saxophonist two Grammy awards, for performance and jazz composition.
In 1964 Coltrane married jazz pianist Alice McCloud, who'd go on to play in his band. Coltrane wrote and recorded a considerable amount of material over the final two years of his life. In 1966 he recorded his final two albums to be released while he was alive, Kulu Se Mama and Meditations. The album Expression was finalized just one day before his death. He died from liver cancer on July 17, 1967, in Huntington, Long Island, New York.
Coltrane's impact on the music world was considerable. He revolutionized jazz music with his experimental techniques and showed a deep reverence for sounds from other cultures, including Africa and Latin America.
In 1992 Coltrane was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. His work continues to be a part of soundtracks for movies and television, so much so that in 1999 Universal Studios named a street on the Universal lot in his honor. In 1995, the United States Postal Service recognized the late musician with a commemorative stamp. More important, Coltrane's sound has inspired generations of newer jazz musicians.
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