Saxophonist John Coltrane dies of liver cancer.
1967 (Jul 17)
John Coltrane died of liver cancer just months after cutting the album, Expression. Coltrane's music, which defied categorization and was a subject of controversy in its day, was instrumental in the development of modern jazz. The famed saxophonist was born on September 23, 1926, in North Carolina. By the late 1940s he had joined Dizzy Gillespie's orchestra, which he played with for four years, already beginning to experiment with technical innovation and composition. In the 1950s modern jazz became a tremendously virile idiom, and, playing with the likes of Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk, Coltrane learned to deepen control of his instrument through tricks of phrasing and harmony. Exhausting every possibility for his horn in the course of a song, Coltrane's technique of exploring all the avenues relied on rapid runs in which individual notes were virtually indistinguishable, a stylistic element that became known as "sheets of sound." In 1960, with McCoy Tyner on piano, Elvin Jones on drums, and Jimmy Garrison on bass, Coltrane formed his own quartet. His most celebrated theme-and-variations piece, My Favorite Things, was produced during this period that was marked by experimentation with triple meter, pentatonic scales, and modal foundations. Coltrane's ever-increasingly complex ametric and improvisational experimentation made him one of the most famous living jazz legends by the mid-1960s, and he enjoyed celebrity that extended to Europe and Japan.