Discussion in 'Honoring Black Ancestors' started by Sun Ship, Feb 25, 2004.
John Coltrane, the master
John Coltrane was born on Septermber 23, 1926 in Hamlet, North Caorlina. As a child he played clarinet as well as alto saxophone. Duirng his early years he played orchestral and march music rather than jazz. In 1943 he moved to Philadelphia and was in a Navy Band by 1945. He recorded and privately issued four songs in 1946. He began his jazz career with King Kolax but left in 1947 to play with Eddie "Cleanhead Vinson." His first big gig was with Dizzy Gillespie's Big Band in 1949. They broke up in 1950 but for the next year he worked with Gillespie's quintet before returning to Philadelphia. He played with several different groups after leaving Gilllespie including Gay Crosse (1952), Earl Bostic (1952), Johnny Hodges (1953-54), and Jimmy Smith (1955). In 1955 Miles Davis started a quintet a John Coltrane came on to play tenor. Davis was actually criticized for taking Coltrane, but he was a good judge of talent and stayed with Coltrane. He played with Davis until 1957 when he was fired for his heroin addiction. He permanently stopped taking heroin and found himself competing with Sonny Rollins for the number one tenor in America. Next he went to New York to play at New York's Five Spot with Thelonious Monk. He then rejoined Miles Davis in 1958, until 1960 when he began his own quartet. He had recorded as a leader as early as 1957, with Blue Train, but now he went solely as a group leader. This time Davis was reluctant to let him go. By the end of the year his band featured McCoy Tyner on piano, Elvin Jones on drums, and Reggie Workman on bass. A year later the band was joined by the great Eric Dolphy.
Coltrane is best known for his experimentation that had him labeled eccentric, unorthodox, and even unmusical. Some of these experimentations included playing the same chord three or four different ways within a single measure and overlapping chords before the change was inteded to occur. In 1960 he played "My Favorite Things" on the straight soprano and single-handedly revived the instrument that is now often played in jazz bands. In 1961 he began a series of recordings at the Village Vanguard that were often called "anti-jazz." To try to counter the criticism he recorded in a quartet with Duke Ellington but he continued to record in his own group. His intense solos were sometimes 45 minutes in length. 1964 he played "A Love Supreme," which is known as his greatest album. In 1965 he almost stopped playing melodies at all and simply continued to experiment more and more. He brought on Pharaoh Sanders, another tenor, and then Rashied Ali as a second drummer. This friction caused McCoy Tyner and Elvin jones to leave. In 1966 his band consisted of Sanders , Ali, his wife Alice on piano, and Jimmy Garrison. His final major album, Expression, featured Coltrane on flute with Pharaoh Sanders on piccolo. By 1967 he was truly overworked. He would practice ten to twelve hours a day, besides a number of performances that included a tour of Japan during the summer. It was just after returning from Japan that he died prematurely on July 17, 1967. The cause of death was liver cancer but it was probably a combination of overworking and alcohol.
Coltrane web site
The bio above is not the best. I will find a better and more insightful bio when time permits.
Link to this exicting site and turn up your speakers, and enjoy:
Peace Brother Sun Ship:
Thank you so much for the threads honoring our great jazz musicians. Here is The Master's horoscope:
John William Coltrane, one of the greatest musicians who ever lived, was born on Thursday, September 23, 1926, at 4:53pm (EST), in Hamlet, North Carolina. He was born with the Sun in Libra, the Moon in Aries, and his time of birth gives him Pisces rising. In other words, “Trane” (as he is affectionately called) is a Libra with an Aries personality, who saw the world through the eyes of a Pisces.
What is most unusual about Trane’s horoscope is that each of these important focal points (i.e., the Sun-sign, Moon-sign and rising sign) falls on the cusp of another sign. For example, his natal Sun is on the cusp of Virgo/Libra; his natal Moon is on the cusp of Aries/Taurus; and his Ascendant (rising sign) is on the cusp of Aquarius/Pisces. Thus the signs Virgo, Taurus and Aquarius are very prominent in his horoscope, and these cosmic pairings indicate that John Coltrane was an extremely gifted and highly evolved individual who had an innate need to receive and express love, which he did through his beautiful music.
With the Sun in Libra, Trane was balanced and moderate, with a heightened sense of proportion, harmony, and an acute appreciation of shades of meaning. His basic character was uncommitted, conciliatory, peaceful and indecisive. Qualities of friendliness were manifest in his personality, as well as courteousness, sociability, mildness and kindness. He possessed an extremely creative mind, with an extraordinary gift for comparisons, standards and harmony. In love he was refined, well disposed and understanding. He was politically moderate, between the two extremes, fair, conciliatory and enduring.
With the Sun on the cusp of Virgo/Libra, Trane possessed a very harmonious nature, relating all elements in his life through a natural analytical ability. Others often sought his advice in making decisions. Libra is ruled by the planet Venus, and Virgo is ruled by Mercury, so Trane could easily communicate sympathy and emotions. He was someone whom others sought out both as a counselor in times of trouble and as an emotional companion. He helped people to feel unity with other individuals and with the Universe.
Libra is a cardinal air sign, while Virgo is a mutable earth sign. In this combination the cardinality of Libra will dominate, providing leadership ability in communications and an intellectual bent; an outgoing personality with firmly established goals and purposes. Underlying this was Trane’s adaptability, diplomacy, and his ability to describe those goals and purposes so as to be clearly understood. There was also his capacity to apply intellectual aims to material ends. He was a welcomed friend and counselor; a happy and creative being, and an outgoing and successful individual who could communicate his goals clearly and see them through to a fine conclusion.
The sign Virgo, however, is more prominent in Trane’s horoscope than Libra. Mercury, ruler of Virgo, and Venus, his ruling planet, are in Virgo. Neptune, his life ruler, occupies the 6th house, which is ruled by Virgo on the natural zodiac. Virgo is also the sign on the cusp of the 7th house of marriage (his wife Alice is a Virgo).
With this heavy Virgo emphasis Trane was analytical, highly discriminating and critical (mostly of himself). Virgo is the sign of the worker and the perfectionist, and Trane was meticulous about his work, paying a great deal of attention to detail and doing things carefully and efficiently. He was always practicing and constantly striving for perfection in his music, which made him a brilliant and creative genius. There was also an innate need for public adulation and approbation in his life, and he was drawn to people who espoused the same philosophy as he did. He was also attracted to those he found easy to communicate with.
His natal Moon on the cusp of Aries/Taurus produced a personality that was an extremely successful blend of objectivity, willpower, productivity and perseverance. Mars, ruler of Aries, provides activity, energy, enterprise and self-assertion. Venus, which also rules Taurus, tempers the tendency of Aries to be self-centered by endowing sympathy, emotion, and a desire for unity. Trane’s personality was well balanced, as evidenced by the fact that he was well-liked during the time he was making a great success in life.
Aries is a cardinal fire sign, while Taurus is a fixed earth sign. Fire and earth – though incompatible elements – work well together, for fire is instinctive and active, providing enthusiasm, while the earth element uses. Thus Trane became the successful creator not merely of ideas, but also of final products. The Moon is accidentally exalted in his horoscope, and an Aries Moon in the 2nd house confers energy, objectivity, leadership, sympathy, inspiration and practicality – a combination of qualities that contributed to Trane’s great success as a gifted musician and his being an extraordinary person as well.
The Sun in Libra-Moon in Aries polarity shows that John Coltrane was highly mental, a blend of keen perception and intuition. He was a lover of freedom, for this Sun-Moon polarity militates against restraint and conjugality. His will was intense, as were his psychological powers, enabling him to conceal his emotions and put great intensity into his thoughts and his artistic expression. There was a power in his being, and he could sway or control an audience with scarcely a spoken word. He was highly artistic and a very creative person, and he derived much pleasure and happiness through his ingenious creative ability.
With 0° Pisces rising (on the cusp of Aquarius), Trane was impressionable and unconventional. Others may have thought that he didn’t know what he was doing at times, when he really had an emotional detachment that allowed him to determine his own right direction. The ruler of Pisces is Neptune, the planet of illusions; the ruler of Aquarius is Uranus, the planet of eccentricity and change. With these two planets influencing the way Trane saw the world, he would obviously undergo many changes throughout his life. Although others may have expected him to be upset, the changes caused him few problems, for he handled even the most drastic changes with detachment.
Pisces rising also shows that Trane had a gentle disposition. He was emotionally sensitive, sympathetic, compassionate, moody and indecisive. He was also pliable, hesitant and mystically inclined, as shown by his great interest in the occult, eastern religions and philosophies, and metaphysical subjects such as astrology, yoga, and transcendental meditation. Pisces is a dual sign, and Trane had a dual personality.
He was a doer and server who drew energy from the spiritual plane. He was extremely intuitive, and went about his work in a compassionate and detached manner. At times, however, he drifted and dreamed, and was easily discouraged and not very practical. These negative Piscean characteristics manifested in his life through his unfortunate experiences with alcohol and drugs, which would eventually cause his death.
At the time of his demise Trane’s progressed Venus (his ruling planet) was heavily afflicted, both by sign and house position. It was in Scorpio, applying to a conjunction with his progressed Sun in Scorpio, the sign of death, in the 8th house of death. Venus rules the 8th house in his horoscope, and was in its double detriment by progression at the time of his death, and opposing his progressed Ascendant. Transiting Venus was opposing his natal Ascendant and transiting Mars was opposing his natal Moon from the 8th house of death...
John Coltrane died on July 17, 1967, at age 41, from cancer of the liver, a drug/alcohol-related disease and a Libra/Pisces affliction.
“Through courage comes freedom. It takes courage to express what you feel, to meditate as you need. Emotional depth and mastery of technique rarely throb within a single pulsation. John Coltrane possessed, and was possessed by, this gift.”
(Dr. C.O. Simpkins, "Coltrane: A Biography," Black Classic Press, 1989)
The truth of Trane
Brother Aqil, the horoscope you posted about Coltrane was mesmerizing and profound. It redeemed everything I have ever heard about Trane and know for myself. I will further the journey of this thread in honor of John Coltrane.
Surely a great manifestation of heaven walked the earth in the persona and sound of John Coltrane. What he has done for me spiritually is beyond words and the horoscope you have enlightened us with has left me speechless. I will cherish your post like a thirsty man cherishes the taste of water. There is no need for any greater biography, I think you said more than any biography could reveal.
Thank you my brother,
Brother Sun Ship
You're quite welcome, Sun Ship...and shukrin for your kind and inspiring words. I am overwhelmed. Jazak-'lah. And thank you again for honoring those who honored us so immensely...
Ma Salaam my brother,
On a lighter note:
An elder friend of mine who is also a devout John Coltrane fan sent me this anecdotal version of "My Favorite Things":
"Maalox and nose drops and needles for knitting,
walkers and handrails and new dental fittings…
bundles of magazines all tied up with string,
these are a few of my favorite things…
Cadillacs, cataracts, hearing aids, eyeglasses,
Pollident, Fixodent, and false teeth in glasses…
Pacemakers, golf carts, and porches with swings,
these are a few of my favorite things…
When the pipes leak,
when the bones creek,
when the knees go bad,
Then I remember my favorite things
and I don’t feeeeeel so bad…
Hot tea and crumpets and corn pads and bunions,
no spicy hot food, no food cooked with onions…
bathrobes and heat pads, and hot meals they bring,
these are a few of my favorite things…
Back pains, confused brains, and no fear of sinning,
thin bones and fractures, and hair that is thinning,
And we won’t mention our short, shrunken frames,
when we remember our favorite things…
When the joints ache,
when the hips break,
when the eyes grow dim…
Then I remember the great life I’ve had,
and I don’t feeeeeeel so bad…"
Thanks for Posting Tranes chart Aqil.
He was one of our Greatest musical Avatars.
I love the Coltrane article, being a saxophonist and a virgo, it was easy to enjoy. I am trying to learn some Coltrane and Bird tunes now so I can get a gig at the jukejoints down here in GA. Good going Daddy-O!!!
Bless you brother SUNSHIP and brother AQIL, for honoring an ancestor that honored the best that African people have to offer... I am overwhelmed by the love in this thread... God Bless this great man for having walked the earth - I mean that with all my heart and soul...
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