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John Coltrane – The Man That Inspired Me

Who inspired me to be a saxophone player? This is a question I can answer with 100% certainty: John Coltrane. And for many of you, this is a man that needs no introduction. The pioneer of modes in jazz, “Trane” remains one of the world’s most significant saxophonists to ever walk the earth.

Giant Steps provides a smooth, upbeat sound that speaks to the soul, while Equinox is simply unforgettable in its entirety. Equinox is a personal favorite of mine, but everything Coltrane touched seemed to be magic.

A Chance at Any Age

What many people don’t realize is that Coltrane also provides hope. Yes, hope. The legend started his career as a sideman at 29 and didn’t launch his solo career until he was 33. All too often we forget that music can be broken into at any age – especially in the world of jazz.

But even more impressive is that he achieved legendary status despite dying at the young age of 40.

Coltrane’s legacy began as a passion. The North Carolina saxophonist received his first saxophone in 1943 at the age of 17. His first “professional” gig came in 1945, but he wouldn’t be playing the sax. Instead, he was playing the piano and guitar at a cocktail lounge.

In an attempt to avoid the draft, he joined the Navy where he would continue to express his musical talent and would meet William Massey, part of the Melody Masters, which he continued to play with when he left the Navy.

Playing some of the best jazz to ever be recorded, Coltrane would play with: Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk.

And this is just a short history of why John Coltrane is my inspiration. He had a never-quit attitude and was so musically inclined that he couldn’t be overlooked as one of the greatest saxophonists to ever breathe. While short, he ended his career with a legacy.