John William Coltrane, also known as 'Trane (23 September 1926 – 17 July 1967), is probably the most influential tenor saxophonist of the twentieth century. When I walked into Star Records, a tiny jazz record shop in Islington, in 1960 and bought a copy of Giant Steps I knew instantly that this was a sound heading in a direction that would change jazz forever. As his career progressed, 'Trane and his music took on an increasingly spiritual dimension, culminating in something unrecognisable to the bebop and hard bop styles that were his springboard earlier on. He entered what were distinctly avant-garde modes, and undoubtedly became a pioneer at the forefront of free jazz. And yet 'Trane was so very much more than that.
I wanted my portrait of 'Trane to depict the giant he became within modern jazz; also his spiritual journey.
"My goal is to live a truly religious life, and express it in my music. If you live it, when you play there's no problem because the music is part of the whole thing. To be a musician is really something. It goes very, very deep. My music is the spiritual expression of what I am - my faith, my knowledge, my being."
- John Coltrane