Fans Push to Make John Coltrane’s Former Home a Museum
Al Barbarino Oct. 7, 2013, 3:36 p.m.
Music fans of all ages convened yesterday at EN Japanese Brasserie on Hudson Street for a fundraising effort that could transform jazz great John Coltrane’s Dix Hills, Long Island home into a museum and educational center.
Among attendees vying for the preservation of the four-bedroom ranch home was Santana’s Carlos Santana and Mr. Coltrane’s son, Ravi Coltrane, also a saxophonist, who according to reports played some of his father’s songs at the event.
“The house is a symbol really of his music and what he believed in,” Ravi Coltrane told Newsday.
The legendary saxophonist lived at the home, located at 247 Candlewood Path, from 1964 until his death in 1967, and he composed the jazz masterpiece A Love Supreme within its modest walls. The town purchased the home in 2005 from a developer for $975,000, staving off plans for its demolition, and it was later added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.
Some “youngsters have a lack of self-worth,” Mr. Santana said at the event. “But if they are reminded of people such as Coltrane, they’ll change.”
Other youngsters have evidently caught on to the power of improvisational music, inherent in jazz and a centerpiece of Mr. Coltrane’s music, especially later in his career.
“I love Coltrane,” Jonathan Bodian, 16, a classical guitarist from Dix Hills, told Newsday. “[He] goes so far out on his melody that it’s abstract. But then he brings it back to the theme… [and] it finally makes sense.”
In 2007, Coltrane was awarded the Pulitzer Prize Special Citation for his “masterful improvisation, supreme musicianship and iconic centrality to the history of jazz.”
About $1 million is needed to create the museum, and an additional $375,000 must be raised to open the home to the public, organizers told the publication. All profits go to nonprofit Friends of the Coltrane Home, which is managing the property on behalf of the town. The organization is also running an online campaign to raise $85,000 to preserve the house
Mr. Coltrane died at 40 from liver cancer at Huntington Hospital on Long Island on July 17, 1967. His funeral was held four days later at St. Peters Lutheran Church in New York City. He had formed his first group, a quartet, in 1960 for an appearance at the city’s Jazz Gallery.