Composer and saxophonist John Coltrane is one of the most significant figures in Jazz. After developing the language of be-bop with Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk (the 50s), Coltrane moved towards a harder bop style, recording for Atlantic Records between 1959 and 1961. His first Atlantic LP, Giant Steps is considered a hugely important jazz release.
Moving to the innovative and forward looking Impulse! label, Coltrane released albums regularly, some demonstrating his fresh take on jazz standards, others pushing the boundaries of sound. In the mid-60s, the saxophonist heard the insistent call of the avant-garde, recording with musicians such as Archie Sheep, Marion Brown and Pharaoh Sanders. Coltrane believed that every performance, whether live or studio, was an expression of his whole being. This spiritual component became stronger as he grew older, and was entwined with the artistry of his wife, Alice Coltrane.
John Coltrane died in 1967, aged just forty years old. In his brief career he recorded over fifty albums as leader and many, many more as a participant (sideman). The sixties music may challenge listeners new to jazz, even such uplifting works as A Love Supreme, but the man’s genius can be appreciated via earlier work such as the classic Blue Train (1958).