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Celebrating Coltrane in Fairmount Park

by Sara Hirschler on September 14, 2017

We are excited to be participating in Philadelphia Jazz Project’s annual celebration of John Coltrane by co-hosting two events in Fairmount Park:

  • A free screening of Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary on 9/22 at 7pm
  • A jazz walk starting at Mander Recreation Center, stopping at Coltrane House,  and ending at Hatfield House on 9/23 at 4pm

While we love any reason to share live music in Philly’s parks, Celebrating Coltrane is especially important to us because we recognize that the time that Coltrane spent residing in Strawberry Mansion were critical years in his life and career, shaping a legacy that still holds incredible significance in the neighborhood today. It was at his house on 1511 N. 33rd Street, directly across from Fairmount Park and where he lived with his mother, his aunt and his cousin between 1952 and 1958, that he overcame addiction and began to develop the sound for which he would become internationally renowned.

According to a 2013 report from the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia, Coltrane owned and lived in this home longer than any other during his legendary career, and it was during the years that he resided here that Coltrane, as a musician, became “identifiably ‘Trane.” When Coltrane left Philly to further his career in New York City in 1958, the North 33rd Street house anchored and provided continuity to his life. This remained so even after, as a prosperous, established musician with celebrity status, he purchased a home on Long Island in 1964. Coltrane’s mother, Alice Blair Coltrane, remained in the Philadelphia home he had bought for the family during his lean early years as a rising jazz star until her death in 1977. Coltrane’s first cousin, “Cousin Mary” Alexander, then acquired and resided in the home until she sold it in 2004 with the request that it remain as a tribute to John Coltrane.

We hope that the events during Celebrating Coltrane will help ensure that Coltrane’s incredible music lives on and that more people learn about and become inspired by the potential for the Coltrane House to live on as more than just a landmark, but a place of education, celebration, and of course, tribute to John Coltrane and the Philadelphia jazz community.

If you are in the area, be sure to check out a new John Coltrane mural by Ernel Martinez of Amber Art & Design, that will be dedicated on Sunday, September 24 at 29th and Diamond Streets.

For more information about the Philadelphia Jazz Project and to see their full schedule of Celebrating Coltrane events, click here.