On this day, June 17th in 1967, John Coltrane died at the of 40 from liver cancer at a hospital on Long Island.
His death took many in the musical community by surprise as Coltrane kept his health condition private. Miles Davis said that “Coltrane’s death shocked everyone, took everyone by surprise. I knew he hadn’t looked too good. But I didn’t know he was that sick or even sick at all.”
Coltrane’s funeral service was opened by the Albert Ayler Quartet and closed by the Ornette Coleman Quartet.
"I don’t see why our music can’t be given the same respect of European classical music. Beethoven’s been dead all these years and they’re still talking about him, teaching him, and playing his music. Why ain’t they talking about Bird, or Trane, or Monk, or Duke, or Count, or Fletcher Henderson, or Louis Armstrong like they’re talking about Beethoven? Shit, their music is classical." Miles Davis [pic by Herman Leonard]
We know why Miles, we know why.
John Coltrane, gunslinger and saint (from Jazz, directed by Ken Burns, 2000)
He was my biggest musical inspiration growing up. The second I heard him I knew I wanted to play the saxophone. I dedicated my entire adolescent life im achieving that dream.
I mean sure I was socially alienated because I became adapted to music deemed uncool to a ton of kids trying to fit in. But I guess I never cared much about any one as much as I did about music. It was my life growing up. It was all the friends I never had. The expressions I couldn’t reiterate.
Music was, is, and will always be everything to me. Its embedded deep in my soul.