1995 John Coltrane
- Issued in the Legends of American Music Series
Stamp Category: Commemorative
Set: Legends of American Music Series
Value: 32c First-Class postage rate
First Day of Issue: September 16, 1995
First Day Cities: Monterey, California
Quantity Issued: 150,000,000
Printed by: Sterling Sommer in Tonawanda, NY for Ashton-Potter
Printing Method: Offset
Format: Pane of 20
Perforations: 11.1 x 10.9
Why the stamps were issued: They were issued as part of the new Legends of American Music Series to honor jazz and the instrumentalist and composers who made it popular. Each stamp satisfied the First-Class postage rate.
About the stamp design: The stamp was designed by Dean Mitchell who designed six of the #2983-2992 Jazz Musicians pane. Art direction was by Howard Paine. There was a lot of back and forth and changes even till the last second of the Coltrane image. This mad dash to get it in on time resulted in the only image that has the denomination on the right instead of the left. The family was very particular with the pose used for the stamp.
About The Set: The Legends of American Music Series debuted on January 8, 1993 and ran until 1999. More than 70 artists are represented from all styles of music: rock and roll, rhythm and blues, country and western, jazz and pop, opera and classical, gospel and folk. In addition to individual singers and Broadway musicals, subjects include bandleaders, classical composers, Hollywood songwriters and composers, plus conductors and lyricists.
The Legends of American Music Set was a huge advancement for diversity because it honored many Black and female artists.
The 29c “young Elvis” – #2721, kicked off the series in a big and very public way. Its design was voted on by over one million Americans, about 75% of whom favored the young Elvis over the “old Elvis” version.
History the stamp represents:
Although born in Hamlet, North Carolina in 1926, John William Coltrane grew up in Philadelphia. Studying E-flat alto horn, clarinet, and then saxophone in high school, he continued his studies at the Granoff Studios and Ornstein School of Music. Coltrane, the genius of the tenor and soprano saxophones, became the most influential musician and composer of his time.
Coltrane concertized with such greats as Eddie Vinson, Dizzy Gillespie, Earl Bostic, and Johnny Hodges. But it is the music and recordings he made with trumpeter-composer Miles Davis from 1955 to 1960, and briefly with Thelonious Monk in 1957, that brought him great fame. In 1960 he formed a unique-sounding quartet with pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison, and drummer Elvin Jones. Each of these musicians, especially in the cases of Tyner and Jones, became widely respected in their own right.
Credit is given to Coltrane for raising the tenor saxophone to new levels, and for saving the soprano saxophone from relative obscurity. His unique style was based upon exploring complex harmonics and extended improvisation. His most popular compositions include “A Love Supreme,” “Giant Steps,” “Naima,” “Moment’s Notice,” and “Equinox.”