John Coltrane

by Ben from Woodland Hills

John Coltrane had some of the most impressive jazz improvisations in history. He invented many new styles, which were complicated and difficult to understand. He was also a very versatile player; he could go from a powerful and sweet ballad, to a mind wracking swing piece. John Coltrane was and always will be one of the world's best.

John Coltrane is my hero because of who he became, not what he looked like or acted like. He played with confidence and had no doubts about what he was doing. He just played and played well on everything that he did. The many things that he had done in his life were very admirable, such as living his life to the fullest getting better at what was impressively good. Just being the best he could be with how he live his life. Unless it was his drug life, which he eventually worked out of, but took many years off of his life. Any musician would love to have John Coltrane's drive or talent. To do what he had done had taken more than just playing and practicing notes and rhythms, it was a study of chord changes and a balance of what tones would fit in a song, he invented most of the music that he played. John Coltrane is not just a person who had created many many works of art and played them better than anyone, even today. He had set the standard for musical greatness. John Coltrane is no my hero because he was the best, he is my hero because he still is the best.

Throughout his life, John Coltrane had a demanding life. He had dedicated himself to music at an early age; when he grew up he played the clarinet, and when he turned 15 he discovered the Eb saxophone. He soon moved to Philadelphia and enrolled in Ornstein School of Music and Granoff Studios. After this he played in the Navy Band in Hawaii for one year (1945-1946), which interrupted his studies in school. Though John Coltrane had hard times with his schooling because of his musical activities, though all of the music had paid off, because he was introduced to major band leaders such as Dizzy Gillespie, with whom he had made his first recording with 1949. Although John had played with many great players, he was not recognized for how good he really was. He then found Miles Davis' band, it was here that he was brought out of the dark and into the public eye. He had fortunately stayed with what he love for so long, and he got his break.

The 1950's would be considered the dark times of John Coltrane's career. This would be because of his alcoholism and drug addictions. The problem with this was that it was fairly common in this time period. The reason for this abuse of drugs is that they were considered to be a substance to make you calm down, and concentrate on what you would be doing at the moment. Just think, you're in a bar or restaurant with customers that really haven't paid to see you, so they could care less to talk loudly when you are trying to think about what you're playing. This would be hard to tune out for almost anyone, so you would use the drugs to concentrate, but the addiction would make you want to do this more than when you are just worried about playing. He later figured out that it wouldn't be a good idea to keep up the lifestyle of being a druggy, and hard a hard time quitting, but did when he joined another band. I would think that it would be one of the hardest things in the world to quit a drug addiction. I believe that this reenforces that John Coltrane was one of the more strong minded people in the musician business. He show heroism by not letting anything or anyone get in his way about what he was born to do.

John Coltrane was and forever will be one of the worlds best, because of his accomplishments in the study of music. He still seems to play things better than most of the world's musicians. Even though he has been dead for nearly 50 years, this would be due to his drug addiction earlier in life; he still remains to be brought back to life, every time anyone plays his music.

Related Links

John Coltrane - PBS - JAZZ
- WNUR-FM, Northwestern University
John William Coltrane - Official Website


Coltrane, John. "John Coltrane." [Online] Available