VOICE ONE: PEOPLE INAMERICA, a program in Special English by the Voice of America.(THEME) He was one of the greatest saxophone players of all time. Hewrote jazz music. He recorded new versions of popular songs. And, hehelped make modern jazz popular. I'm Shirley Griffith.
VOICE TWO: And I'm Steve Ember. Today, we tell about musicianJohn Coltrane. (MUSIC BRIDGE) VOICE ONE: John Coltrane was born inthe state of North Carolina in Nineteen-Twenty-Six. He was raised inthe small farm town of High Point. Both of his grandfathers wereclergymen. As a young boy, he spent a great deal of time listeningto the music of the black Southern church. Coltrane's father sewedclothes. He played several musical instruments for his ownenjoyment. The young Coltrane grew up in a musical environment. Hediscovered jazz by listening to the recordings of such jazz greatsas Count Basie and Lester Young. VOICE TWO: When John was thirteen,he asked his mother to buy him a saxophone. People realized almostimmediately that the young man could play the instrument very well.John learned by listening to recordings of the great jazz saxophoneplayers, Johnny Hodges and Charlie Parker. John and his family movedto Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in Nineteen-Forty-Three. He studiedmusic for a short time at the Granoff Studios and at the OrnsteinSchool of Music. VOICE ONE: John Coltrane served for a year in aNavy band in Hawaii. When he returned, he began playing saxophone inseveral small bands. In Nineteen-Forty-Eight, Coltrane joinedtrumpet player Dizzy Gillespie's band. Seven years later, Coltranejoined the jazz group of another trumpet player, Miles Davis. Thegroup included piano player Red Garland, double bass player PaulChambers and drummer Philly Joe Jones. VOICE TWO: Coltrane beganexperimenting with new ways to write and perform jazz music. Heexplored many new ways of playing the saxophone. Some people did notlike this new sound. They did not understand it. Others said it wasan expression of modern soul. They said it represented an importantchange. Jazz performers, composers and other musicians welcomed thischange. During the Nineteen-Fifties, Coltrane used drugs andalcohol. He became dependent on drugs. Band leaders dismissed himbecause of his drug use. In Nineteen-Fifty-Seven, Coltrane stoppedusing drugs. VOICE ONE: In Nineteen-Fifty-Nine, John Coltranerecorded the first album of his own music. The album is called"Giant Steps." Here is the title song from that album. ((TAPE CUT#1: "GIANT STEPS")) VOICE TWO: Coltrane also recorded another famoussong with a larger jazz band. The band included Milt Jackson onvibes, Hank Jones on piano, Paul Chambers on bass and Connie Kay ondrums. Here is their recording of "Stairway to the Stars." ((TAPECUT #2: "STAIRWAY TO THE STARS")) VOICE ONE: In Nineteen-Sixty,Coltrane left Miles Davis and organized his own jazz group. He wasjoined by McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass and ElvinJones on drums. This group became famous around the world. JohnColtrane's most famous music was recorded during this period. Onesong is called "My Favorite Things." Richard Rogers and OscarHammerstein had written the song for the Broadway musical "The Soundof Music." Jazz critics say Coltrane's version is one of the bestjazz recordings ever made. The record became very popular. It ledmany more people to become interested in jazz. ((TAPE CUT #3: "MYFAVORITE THINGS")) VOICE TWO: Critics say Coltrane's versions ofother popular songs influenced all jazz music writing. One of thesewas a song called "Summertime." It was written by Du Bose Heywardand George Gershwin for the opera "Porgy and Bess." ((TAPE CUT #4:"SUMMERTIME")) VOICE ONE: In Nineteen-Sixty-Four, Coltrane marriedpianist Alice McCloud who later became a member of his band. Hestopped using alcohol, and became religious. He wrote a song tocelebrate his religious experience. The song is more than thirtyminutes long. It is called "A Love Supreme." Here is part of thesong. ((TAPE CUT #5: "A LOVE SUPREME")) VOICE TWO: ByNineteen-Sixty-Five, Coltrane was one of the most famous jazzmusicians in the world. He was famous in Europe and Japan, as wellas in the United States. He was always trying to produce a soundthat no one had produced before. Some of the sounds he made werebeautiful. Others were like loud screams. Miles Davis said thatColtrane was the loudest, fastest saxophone player that ever lived.Many people could not understand his music. But they listenedanyway. Coltrane never made his music simpler to become morepopular. Coltrane continued to perform and record even as hesuffered from liver cancer. He died in Nineteen-Sixty-Seven at theage of forty in Long Island, New York. VOICE ONE: Experts say JohnColtrane continues to influence modern jazz. Some critics say one ofColtrane's most important influences on jazz was his use of musicalideas from other cultures, including India, Africa and LatinAmerica. Whitney Balliett of The New Yorker Magazine wrote aboutColtrane the year after his death: "People said they heard the darknight ... in Coltrane's wildest music. But what they really heardwas a heroic ... voice at the mercy of its own power." (THEME) VOICETWO: This Special English program, was written by Shelley Gollust.It was produced by Lawan Davis. I'm Steve Ember.
p>VOICE ONE: And I'm Shirley Griffith. Join us again next week atthis time for another PEOPLE IN AMERICA program on the Voice ofAmerica.