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John Coltrane

John Coltrane was born on September 23, 1926, in Hamlet, North Carolina. This particular day had important astrological significance. It was the day of the autumn equinox, one of only two days through the year where night and day are perfectly equal (Fraim 7).Shortly after his birth, Coltrane’s family moved to High Point, North Carolina. He lived in a nice neighborhood sharing a house with his mom and dad, aunt and uncle and cousin, and his grandparents, the Blairs (7). Even at an early age it was obvious that religion was important to Coltrane. He would listen to his grandfather, Reverend Blair, preach at the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church on Sunday mornings (7).When Coltrane was older he also began going to church on Tuesday nights. He played in the Community Band rehearsals under the direction of the Reverend Warren Steele. In this band he played the alto saxophone, his first instrument (9).Coltrane’s father, John Robert Coltrane, also had a passion for music. After a few drinks, he would sing country music and play the violin and ukulele(7). Coltrane’s mother had an interest in music and wanted to have a career as an opera singer. This wasn’t possible, so she sang and played the piano in church (8).With some other school friends, Coltrane helped organize a band at William Penn High School. He began to take music a little more seriously. He was able to play two instruments, started reading jazz magazines, and was practicing his instrument at all hours of the night. Students at school saw him as the biggest assett to the band and began asking him for advice (9).In 1945, Coltrane was inducted into the Navy, but he only stayed in for a year. He then began to work odd jobs until 1949. In 1949 he joined Dizzy Gillespie’s big band(Wild).When Coltrane joined Dizzy Gillespie’s band, he befriended Yusef Lateef, a black Moslem (Frain 16). Lateef was a part of the band for only a sh...

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