Stars Shine For Coltrane Home
The stars came out for the first big fundraiser to benefit the John Coltrane Home in Dix Hills this past Sunday, led by guitar legend Carlos Santana.
Santana, a veteran of Woodstock and arguably one of the most influential guitarists of the century, drew a sizable crowd of Coltrane Home supporters to EN Japanese Brasserie on Hudson Street in New York City. Among them were Elvis Costello, jazz drummer Roy Haynes, Jimmy Heath and Ravi Coltrane, whose quartet performed.
Santana, who serves as honorary chairman of the Coltrane Home board of directors, feels a deep affinity for Coltrane’s music, which he said can be felt “at the molecular level.” He feels the same way about the jazz composer’s life, which was a spiritual pursuit of pureness and beauty.
He sees the mission of the Coltrane Home as a means of social change.
“The brothers, brown and black, have a lack of self worth. This is why they behave the way they behave,” he said. “The more you invite the youngsters, the rappers, to connect with John Coltrane… this will stop the carnage and the shooting. They will carry themselves differently and behave differently.”
The message resonated in the crowd of 150 supporters who have thrown themselves behind efforts to preserve the home on Candlewood Path in Dix Hills where in 1963 Coltrane locked himself in a second-story room for six days and wrote his opus, “A Love Supreme.”
The culmination of the saxophonist/composer’s career, “A Love Supreme” reached new levels and remains in the eyes of many among the greatest music ever written.
“If you want to know John Coltrane, you have to know ‘A Love Supreme,’” said Coltrane biographer Ashley Kahn, who also spoke at the event.
Efforts to preserve Coltrane’s home on Candlewood Path and build an education center there began with a chance discovery by Dix Hill resident Steve Fulgoni. A jazz lover, Fulgoni made the connection between the composer and a house that was slated for demolition as part of a planned subdivision over 10 years ago, and raised the alarm in the music community. Government officials in the Town of Huntington rallied behind the cause and voted to acquire the house as a museum/study center and turn its operation over to a nonprofit.
Plans for the site include a museum dedicated to Coltrane’s life and music, recreation of his recording studio, and a spiritual meditation garden, in tribute to Coltrane’s wife, Alice. Alice Coltrane, herself a talented musician, immersed herself in Eastern religions and influenced her husband’s spirituality and music.
Fulgoni recalled discovering Coltrane’s music.
“Most of us have had that Coltrane revelation and it hits you,” he said. After growing up listening to hard rock, “his music was like magic. It touched me in a way music never had,” Fulgoni said.
With Sunday’s fundraiser, the Coltrane Home is on the way toward meeting its initial fundraising goal of $350,000. But the day was as much about spreading the message as it was about raising money.
“This was a fantastic kick-off event for the Coltrane Home. The love of the Coltranes for their music and their message of goodwill and integrity was palpable. The buzz in the room over the incredible musicians and celebrities – Carlos Santana, Dr. Cornel West, Ravi Coltrane – who were integral to the event and have taken this project to heart was fantastic,” said Coltrane Home COO Ron Stein, adding, “Carlos Santana’s message about the importance of young people to develop a sense of self-respect and dignity as an antidote to the hatred and violence was very much in tune with Coltrane’s message of self-actualization, the triumph of hope, and the pursuit of excellence.”
And the Coltrane message continues to spread. A partnership with The Paramount in Huntington last week brought an opportunity to engage musician Robert Randolph in the cause, Stein said.