I am so sorry to learn that the final home of John Coltrane is once again an endangered historical landmark, according to an article in today’s New York Times. The Coltrane Home’s official website states that “A nationally significant historic site, The Coltrane Home in Dix Hills, is in danger. Listed as one of the 11 Most Endangered Historic Places by the National Trust for Historic Places, and saved from demolition following a worldwide grass roots effort several years ago, it remains in urgent need.”
The news has stirred up all of the emotions that I felt when I first learned of this issue back in 2004. I remember getting a call from Steve Fulgoni, historian for the Half Hollow Historical Association in the Dix Hills area, where Coltrane’s last home is located. He is an avid John Coltrane lover and supporter, and probably one of the nicest people I’ve ever met (his wife is quite a wonderful person as well). Anyway, he informed me that he was heading up an effort to have a hearing of sorts at Huntington Town Hall to make the case for the home to escape demolition and rightfully be deemed a historical landmark. He asked if I would mind attending and reading the letter I had previously written about my feelings about Coltrane and the importance of the home. I could not have been more honored by the invitation, and I went. It was an experience I’ll never forget. It was the first time I met Ravi Coltrane, and Matt Garrison (son to legendary bassist and Classic Coltrane Quartet member, Jimmy Garrison). Fairly new in my career in jazz and advocacy, this was such an impressionable moment for me; the first time I felt that rewarding feeling that comes from understanding I somehow had a personal hand in something so important. But according to today’s Times article, “lack of funds” have stalled the efforts and put the home in danger, yet again.
John Coltrane is the single most influential artist in my life, and I look at it as no less than my duty to get back to business and do whatever I can. Won’t you also?