Today, would have been the jazz legend's 88th birthday. Unfortunately, John Coltrane lost his battle with liver cancer in 1967, at the age of 40. His death came as a shock to the music community, even some of those who were close to him —collaborators and friends — did not know he had been sick.
Coltrane left behind a step-daughter, Michele, and three children, John Jr., Ravi, and Oranyan, as well as a widow. Alice Coltrane was born in Detroit on August 27, 1937. The classically trained pianist and harpist studied in Paris under renowned pianist Bud Powell, but eventually came back to Detroit to establish her own trio.
In the early '60s, while playing with Terry Gibb, Alice met John, who was estranged from his first wife, Naima. Almost immediately upon Trane's divorce, he and Alice got hitched in Juarez, Mexico, in 1965. The couple would collaborate until John's death. As his pianist, Alice appeared on six releases, including The Olatunji Concert: The Last Live Recording.
After John's death, Alice continued to make music as a solo artist and bandleader, as well as collaborating with other jazz giants, such as Charlie Haden and McCoy Tyner.
Trane's musical legacy is prominent not only in jazz, but also reaches as far as punk rock and electronic music. Take some time today to celebrate the music of John Coltrane, perhaps with his swan song, Expression, featuring Alice on piano.