I will never forget the moment I heard the news that John Coltrane had died. I was sitting in a friend’s apartment on Harvey Avenue in Cincinnati, Ohio when another friend, the late Sid Kennedy, came by and told us Coltrane had crossed over. Sid then announced he was heading home to play every Coltrane album in his collection while getting drunk.
I was fifteen years old and somehow the death of Trane seemed impossible to get my head around. He was a seminal influence in my life. Like many others of my generation, I cannot imagine what my “coming of age” experience would have been like without his music. He provided the “soundtrack” of my youth. And his artistry and spirituality have guided my journey as a writer/musician ever since. Only Pharaoh Sanders (with whom I had the privilege of “sitting in” once) taught me as much about “Wisdom Through Music.”
John Coltrane was forty years old when he died of liver cancer on July 17, 1967. He would have been 85 today.