John Coltrane at the Appolo Theater playing 'My Fauvorite Things' , 1964
John Coltrane at the Appolo Theater playing 'My Fauvorite Things' , 1964

John William "Trane" Coltrane (September 23, 1926 – July 17, 1967) was an American jazz saxophonist and composer.

Working in the bebop and hard bop idioms early in his career, Coltrane helped pioneer the use of modes in jazz and later was at the forefront of free jazz. He was prolific, making about fifty recordings as a leader during his recording career, and appeared as a sideman on many other albums, notably with trumpeter Miles Davis and pianist Thelonious Monk. As his career progressed, Coltrane's music took on an increasingly spiritual dimension.

He influenced innumerable musicians, and remains one of the most significant tenor saxophonists in jazz history. He received many awards, among them a posthumous Special Citation from the Pulitzer Prize Board in 2007 for his "masterful improvisation, supreme musicianship and iconic centrality to the history of jazz

Coltrane played the clarinet and the alto horn in a community band before taking up the alto saxophone during high school. In 1947, when he joined King Kolax's band, Coltrane switched to tenor saxophone, the instrument he became known for playing primarily.

In the early 1960s, during his engagement with Atlantic Records, he increasingly played soprano saxophone as well. While with Miles Davis' band, he was inspired by Steve Lacy and purchased his own soprano in February 1960. The cover of his album My Favorite Things features Coltrane playing soprano.