John Coltrane would have been 86 on Sunday (September 23rd). He died of liver cancer in 1967; he was only 40.
It's hard, maybe impossible, to think of a postwar jazz giant who's had a greater (or more profound) influence on jazz than Coltrane has. He's actually left his mark on music itself --- an indelible mark, for certain --- in a way that very few ever do. Saxophone players, composers, performers, and "inside" as well as "outside" musicians across a variety of genres: all of these, of course, pursue the art and the craft of their music (to some extent) in the shadow of Trane.
But he's also --- to state the obvious, perhaps --- affected modern culture, and he's still doing so. For evidence of such lasting impact --- as just one example of such ongoing influence --- we need look no further than the existence of the Saint John Coltrane African Orthodox Church, which is based on Fillmore Street in San Francisco. (NPR ran a terrific profile of this church --- and of Coltrane's album-length, four-part suite from late 1964, "A Love Supreme," which basically fostered the creation of the church, and which remains the legendary saxophonist's transcendent magnum opus, his overtly spiritual modern-jazz masterpiece --- back in the fall of 2000; you can read and/or hear that profile here.)
On our next edition of All This Jazz, come Saturday the 22nd, we'll hear Trane's tunes exclusively as the second-hour theme for our program. "Moment's Notice." "Grand Central." "Naima." "Central Park West." "Countdown." We'll hear all of these compositions, and many others, as played by the jazz masters of both yesteryear and today. Please join us Saturday night at 10 o'clock on 89.5 KWGS-FM.