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John Coltrane

John Coltrane

Biography

John Coltrane's recording career took off with his work with Miles Davis' Quintet in 1955 and in '56, he began recording his first solo material. He began a serious investigation of harmony, which culminated in his seminal '59 LP Giant Steps. Coltrane's warp-speed sonic attack on this album was called by the critics but his playing kept evolving. In '61, he solidified the lineup of a new quartet with pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison, and drummer Elvin Jones. Their playing was largely modal, based on the approach Coltrane had learned with Miles Davis. In the years that followed, the group began pushing towards total freedom. At the same time, Coltrane began to tackle more spiritual themes, which one can hear on the two suites A Love Supreme and Meditations. By his untimely death in 1967, Coltrane had moved entirely into free-form improvisation; yet even in his most chaotic playing one senses a higher purpose. John Coltrane was both a deeply spiritual person and a relentless stylistic innovator, who demolished the boundaries of jazz in search of transcendence.
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