Ali, Rashied. Born Robert Patterson in Philadelphia, PA, July 1 1935. Studied at Granoff School of Music and worked around Philadelphia in r&b bands and some jazz groups. Moved in New York City in 1963 and worked with a number of avant garde performers including Bill Dixon, Paul Bley, Sun Ra and Albert Ayler. Began working with John Coltrane in the fall of 1965, and replaced Elvin Jones in January of 1966, remaining with Coltrane until his death in 1967. Subsequently he worked with Alice Coltrane and as a leader, forming Survival Records in 1973 as a means of recording and releasing his own music. He also ran a jazz "loft", Ali’s Alley, through 1979.

Chambers, Paul. Bassist. Born April 22, 1935 in Pittsburgh PA; died New York City January 4, 1969.

Cobb, Jimmy. Drummer.  Born Washington January 20, 1929. 

Coltrane, John. Saxophonist, composer. Born September 23, 1926 in Hamlet North Carolina. Died July 17, 1967 at Huntington Hospital in Long Island NY. Raised in Highpoint NC; moved to Philadelphia PA in 1943. Casual musician in Philadelphia to 1949, saxophonist with Dizzy Gillespie’s big band (1949-1950) and small group (1950-1951). Studied music in Philadelphia 1951-52, worked with Earl Bostic, 1952, Johnny Hodges 1953-1954. Joined Miles Davis’s Quintet in October 1955, stayed through April 1957. Worked with Thelonious Monk latter part of 1957. Rejoined Miles Davis January 1958 and remained until April 1960. Formed his own quartet in April 1960, which by the fall consisted of McCoy Tyner, piano and Elvin Jones, drums (this group, with Jimmy Garrison, bass, is known as the Classic John Coltrane Quartet). Recorded and worked steadily with this group through the end of 1965. In 1966 and 1967 health problems began to diminish Coltrane’s activity, but he recorded extensively with a quartet comprised of wife Alice Coltrane, Garrison, and drummer Rashied Ali. For greater details, see the John Coltrane page.

Coltrane, Alice. Pianist, also organist and harpist. Born Alice McLeod, Detroit MI 27 Aug 1937. Studied with Bud Powell, worked in Detroit with Kenny Burrell, Johnny Griffin, Lucky Thompson and Yusef Lateef. Worked with Terry Gibbs, 1962-1963, and met John Coltrane during a 1963 appearance at Birdland. They married in late 1965. She replaced McCoy Tyner with Coltrane in December 1965 and worked with him until his death in 1967. Subsequently led groups including Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp, Joe Henderson, and Carlos Ward, while recording for Impulse and other labels. She moved to California in 1972. Performs in an annual John Coltrane tribute around the time of his birthday (September 23) in Los Angeles.

Davis, Art. Bassist.  Born Harrisburg PA Dec 5 1934.  Played with Max Roach (1958-1959), Dizzy Gillespie (1959-1960), Gigi Gryce (1960). Recorded with a number of musicians, specifically with Booker Little (1958, 1961) Art Blakey, and recorded with John Coltrane (1961, 1965) also performing with him on numerous occasions. .

Davis, Miles. Trumpeter, composer, leader.  Born Alton IL May 25, 1926.  Died Santa Monica CA Septmeber 28 1991.

Dolphy, Eric. Multi-instrumentalist. Dolphy, born in Los Angeles on June 20 1928, was a remarkably inventive musician on flute, bass clarinet and alto saxophone with a free, almost-speechlike approach. He studied music at Los Angeles City College and played lead alto in Roy Porter’s band (1948-1950). After military service he returned to Los Angeles. He and Coltrane first met in 1954 in Los Angeles, where Dolphy worked as a freelance musician, and they stayed in contact through the following years. Dolphy joined drummer Chico Hamilton’s group in 1958, moving to New York City late the following year. He was a member of Charles Mingus’s group through the end of 1960, and recorded with Ornette Coleman on the seminal double quartet album Free Jazz. Dolphy was a key part of theAfrica/Brass sessions, and contributed solos to Coltrane’s last recording for Atlantic (Ole). After playing in Europe in August and early in September 1961, he flew back to San Francisco, where he joined a Coltrane group that (temporarily) included guitarist Wes Montgomery. He stayed with Coltrane through March of 1962. Dolphy briefly led his own group in 1962, and later worked with John Lewis’s Orchestra U.S.A. He continued to work on and off with Coltrane, Mingus and Lewis until his death in Berlin Germany on June 29, 1964, from a heart attack caused by complications of diabetes. Despite a career in large part limited to work as a sideman, and one cut short by his early death, Dolphy had a considerable impact on later musicians, and his contributions to Ornette Coleman’s Free Jazz and Coltrane’s recordings at the Vanguard have given him a lasting place in the music's history.

Garland, William 'Red'.   Pianist.  Born Dallas TX May 13, 1923, died Dallas, April 23 1984.   Started on clarinet but moved to piano around age 18.  Worked in New York and Philadelphia from 1946 to 1955 with Billy Eckstine, Charlie Parker, Coleman Hawksin, Lester Young, etc.  Joined Miles Davis in mid 1955 and stayed with Davis through1958, as part of the classic Miles Davis Quintet's rhythm section.  After leaving Davis in the spring of 1958 Garland led his own trio for several years, but did not see the success he had seen with Davis.  He returned to Dallas in the early sixties and remained there (with a brief return to recording and touring in the late seventies) until his death in 1984.  Garland's use of block chords and other distinctive elements gave the Davis Quintet much of its unique sound.

Garrison, Jimmy. Bassist. Born in Miami FL March 3, 1934; died in New York City, April 7 1976. Grew up in Philadelphia, where he learned to play bass. Moved to New York in the late fifties, working in a variety of groups including Philly Joe Jones, Curtis Fuller, Benny Golson and Lennie Tristano. Also worked with Bill Evans and Tony Scott (documented on recently released recordings). In 1961 he replaced Scott LaFaro with Ornette Coleman, recording on Coleman’s last Atlantic sessions that spring. Later in 1961 he began working with John Coltrane, working as a second bassist at the Village Vanguard sessions and replacing bassist Reggie Workman after the November-December 1961 tour. He remained with Coltrane through Coltrane’s death in 1967 (with a brief absence). After Coltrane’s death Garrison worked with Hampton Hawes, Archie Shepp, and several groups led by Elvin Jones.

Haynes, Roy. Drummer. Born Roxbury MA Mar 13 1926. Began in Boston in 1944, later worked with Lester Young, Bud Powell, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker (1949-1952), Sarah Vaughn (1953-1958), Thelonious Monk, and Eric Dolphy (1960). He was the principal substitute for Elvin Jones with John Coltrane (1961- 1965), performing and recording on several occasions with Coltrane's group. He has also performed and recorded with Stan Getz, Gary Burton, and (notably) on Chick Corea's Now He Sings, Now He Sobs.

Jones, Elvin. The youngest of a family of prominent jazz musicians from Pontiac Michigan, along with older brothers Hank (pianist) and Thad (trumpet), Jones was born in Pontiac on September 9, 1927. After military service (1946-1959), Jones played around Pontiac and Detroit, working regularly in the house band at the legendary Blue Bird Inn in Detroit before moving to New York in 1956. He performed or recorded with such musicians as Donald Byrd, J. J. Johnson, Bud Powell, Stan Getz and (notably) as part of a classic Sonny Rollins Trio recorded live at the Village Vanguard in 1957. In the fall of 1960 he replaced drummer Billy Higgins in Coltrane’s Quartet, joining the band in Denver Colorado. His style of drumming, combining a powerful feeling of swing with complex polyrhythms, was an essential element in the sound of the classic quartet, where he remained from 1960 through January 1966 (with one brief absence in 1963). Coltrane’s inclusion of a second drummer in late 1965 precipitated Jones’s departure; he worked briefly with Duke Ellington’s orchestra in Europe. After his return he led a variety of groups, usually without a piano, and frequently with former Coltrane bassist Jimmy Garrison. He is still active today.

Jones, Joseph 'Philly Joe'. Drummer.  Born Philadelphia, July 15 1923, died Philadelphia PA August 30 1985.   Move to New York  in 1947, played as the house drummer at Cafe Society where he played with Fats Navarro, Dizzy Gillespie, and Charlie Parker.  In Washington DC in 1949 he worked with Ben Webster.  Later in New York he played with Tadd Dameron and Miles Davis.  He is most famous as the drummer in the original Miles Davis Quintet.  He began working regularly with Davis in early 1955 and stayed with the group until about April 1958.  He later worked as a leader, and at Birdland with Duke Ellington, Coltrane, and Billie Holiday.  He worked (and recorded with) pianist Bill Evans in 1967 and again in 1976, and toured with Red Garland.  He also lived in London (1967-1969) and paris (1969-1972).  In 1981 he formed a group called Dameronia, which featured arrangements of music by Tadd Dameron; he also recorded with Archie Shepp.  

Kelly, Wynton. Pianist.   Born Jamaica, December 2, 1931.  Died Toronto, April 12, 1971.

Monk, Thelonious Sphere. Pianist.   Born Rocky Mount, NC, October 10, 1917.  Died Weehawken, NJ, February 17, 1982.

Sanders, Pharoah. Saxophonist. Born Little Rock AR on October 13 1940. Played around the San Francisco area 1959-1962 in rhythm and blues and avant garde jazz groups. Moved to New York City in 1962, where he worked with Billy Higgins, Don Cherry and Sun Ra. He played with Coltrane on occasions in 1965, participating in the Ascension session and traveling west with the group in September 1965. He was a regular member of the group through Coltrane's death. Subsequently he worked with Alice Coltrane and recorded regularly under his own name for Impulse. More recently he has recorded in a wide range of approaches for such labels as Theresa and India Navigation.

Shepp, Archie. Saxophonist. Born Fort Lauderdale FL May 24 1937.

Tyner, McCoy. (Alfred McCoy). Pianist, composer. Born in Philadelphia on December 11, 1938, Tyner began to study piano formally at age 13, later studying at the Granoff School of Music. Tyner first met Coltrane in 1955. The two stayed in contact through the balance of the decade, occasionally working together around Philadelphia. Although Coltrane wanted Tyner to join him when he left Davis, Tyner went with the Art Farmer-Benny Golson Jazztet first, in 1959. After Coltrane left Davis in April 1960, he first used pianist Steve Kuhn, but within six weeks Tyner was a member of the Coltrane Quartet. Tyner recorded regularly for Impulse under his own name during the 5 1/2 years he spent in the classic John Coltrane Quartet. His work during this period as soloist and accompanist had a major influence on his contemporaries. After leaving Coltrane late in 1965 Tyner freelanced for a while, recording for Bluenote. Following several lean years his career took an upswing with the release (on Milestone) of Sahara in 1972. He performed regularly during the 1970’s and 1980’s with quintets and sextets featuring saxophonists George Adams, John Ford, Gary Bartz, and violinist John Blake, and is still quite active as a soloist and leader of a trio.

Workman, Reggie.Bassist. He joined Coltrane in early 1961, replacing Steve Davis. Workman, born in Philadelphia on June 26 1937, had worked with both Coltrane and Tyner in Philadelphia. He was a member of groups led by Gigi Gryce, Roy Haynes and Red Garland prior to 1961. Workman's strong foundation was a central part of the highly influential sessions Coltrane recorded in 1961. Although Workman went on to tour Europe with Coltrane immediately following the Vanguard appearance, he left Coltrane in December. He later worked with James Moody, Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, Yusef Lateef, Herbie Mann and Thelonious Monk. He also recorded with such performers as Archie Shepp and Lee Morgan. He has also been active as a teacher since the mid 1970's.