Greensboro and High Point– Part Three


John Coltrane lived his first 17 years of life in High Point, right through High School (he went to William Penn High, the black high school which was closed when the schools were integrated in the late 60s). His father ran a dry cleaning shop in High Point. What precipitated Coltrane moving to Philadelphia was a couple of things: 1) he wanted to further his musical education (having grown up playing the sax and the clarinet, he favored reed instruments); 2) in a very short period of time, 2-3 years, his father, grandfather and uncle all died. So in 1943 he moved to Philly, to study music at Granoff Studios. He was in due course drafted into the Army near the end of WWII and served briefly in the Navy. Below you will find some highlights of his early life in High Point, and also a shot of the first club, in High Point, where he began to become know as a saxaphone marvel. Most of you will know that after a series of fantastic lps, playing with Miles, and Monk, and Dizzy, and Bill Evans, and McCoy Tyner, and many others (see the lps Kind of Blue, Giant Steps, A Love Supreme, Ballads) he contracted liver cancer and died at the early age of 40 in 1967. He was just reaching his prime, having been named jazzman of the year in 1965.

Here’s a shot of two relevant photos, one of which shows where Coltrane played in a club in High Point. col15