Coltrane Home Update – Grateful to Hear: This is Getting Real

Dignitaries gathered at the press conference where a $1.75M Suffolk County JumpSMART grant to Friends of the Coltrane Home was announced.

Coltrane Home Reaches Transformational Milestone: Things are Moving!!!

John Coltrane was an extraordinary musician – sometimes compared to the genius of Einstein, other times considered on a plane all his own. He wrote what most consider to be his masterwork, “A Love Supreme” in his Dix Hills home.  Musicians I have encountered since learning more about this local, international, perhaps even cosmic treasure, have gotten me to appreciate his wife, Alice even more deeply.

Transcending music alone, both sought to be forces for good and were deeply, deeply spiritual.

Saving the Dix Hills Home

About 20 years ago, now, a Coltrane fan named Steve Fulgoni realized where the Coltrane house was, just as it was being scheduled for demolition. He partnered with all who were willing – family, fellow musicians, fans, local historians and more – to save it from destruction.

Spared the bulldozer, this group of ardent volunteers realized they now had a much bigger job on their hands. In the decades since they have done tremendous work – both on the home and in building awareness and appreciation of these legends.

You can read about the home, the Coltrane legacy and more on the website dedicated to this project.

A Transformative Milestone

Now, it seems, the project has reached a transformational milestone. It was a delight to hear about a recent $1.75M “JumpSMART” GRANT from Suffolk County. This, together with a $1M grant from the Mellon Foundation and countless other gifts is making the restoration of this National Treasure a reality.

You may find daughter Michelle Coltrane’s heartfelt thanks and see some images of ongoing work in this recent newsletter.

Fulgoni’s speech at the press conference about the recent grant is here:

Press Coverage

I am grateful to a motley crew of dedicated volunteers, including Friends of the Coltrane Home in Dix Hills Board Members and Coltane COLTRANE family members who help each other stay apprised of news coverage. Here’s the latest:

•    You can learn a little bit about other milestones in getting this home formally recognized and revitalized, as well as about the Suffolk County JumpSMART program in the Long Island Times article “Coltrane Home gets $1.75M from Suffolk County”
•    News 12 had a piece on the grant that features video of the interior of the home: “Suffolk County expected to announce over $1.7 million in funding for John and Alice Coltrane Home in Dix Hills”
•    There’s more detail in this article by John Valenti for Newsday (subscription required – or visit your local library~!), “Jazz legacy: John & Alice Coltrane Home in Dix Hills to get $1.75M grant for upgrades”
•   More recently, also in Newsday, Robert Brodsky published this beautiful, in depth article, complete with video of the home: “John Coltrane and Alice Coltrane home on Long Island undergoes renovation in effort to preserve history”
•    This article from Clive Young for Mix Online tells more about the Coltranes and the significance of the home, as well as plans for its future, “John Coltrane House Awarded $1.75M to Renovate Home Studio, More”
•    Here’s a little more about the JumpSMART grant from in Long Island.com: “Suffolk County Executive Bellone To Announce Nearly $2 Million In Jumpsmart Funding To The John & Alice Coltrane Home”
Learn More About the Coltranes
–    Here’s a beautiful, recent article from Jeff MacGregor in The Smithsonian magazine, “How John Coltrane’s ‘My Favorite Things’ Changed American Music”
–    Here’s a 2018 Synchronicity Article entitled, “Notes From Joe” with older clippings collected by Coltrane Volunteer Joe Natter that we published some years ago. Worth a re-read! “Notes from Joe”

Some Good Books

One book on John Coltrane that I think musicians, especially may appreciate is Ascension by Eric Nisenson,

“Nice choice!” said Noah, the salesman in a local bookstore, when I brought it to the counter. He then promptly recommended, . “Coltrane on Coltrane” by Chris DeVito and asked me if I knew that the Coltranes had lived around here.

I went home happily and shared my finds with some Coltrane Board Members.

“Chris DeVito’s book, Coltrane on Coltrane is a text version of every Coltrane interview out there,” said Steve, “There are some online audio versions of those interviews where you can hear John talking and really get a feel for who he is.”

A YouTube search reveals a fascinating set of interviews with and about Coltrane

Another board member offered a few of their favorite biographies: Ashley Kahn’s A Love Supreme and what they felt was the best scholarly biography, Lewis Porter’s John Coltrane: His Life and Music. We learned Lewis also has amazing lectures available online in his Deep Dives.

We also refer you to the Half Hollow Hills Library where Coltrane volunteer Ellen Druda, a wonderful, retired librarian has helped create a ‘Coltrane Computer’ with hundreds of images.

It’s all quite enlightening…Enjoy. <3

Closer Every Day: Jazz Luminaries Light Path to Coltrane Home

Coltrane Home volunteers pose with legendary drummer Roy Haynes outside the Coltrane Home in Dix Hills

The opening of the John and Alice Coltrane home is getting closer and closer – it’s so exciting!!!
 
Now, they are offering programming with jazz luminaries who are lighting the way toward a cultural center that truly transcends the walls of the historic home. The legacy being upheld is musical, and also deeply spiritual.
 

A prime intention of its occupants was “to be a force for good.” Musician and spiritual leader Alice Coltrane composed three albums while raising her children in the home: “A Monastic Trio,” “Huntington Ashram Monastery”  and “Ptah the El Daoud.”  This place is also where John penned what is considered not only his own, but a masterwork of Jazz itself, “A Love Supreme.”

The experience of restoring this National Treasure has been filled with great musicians and ordinary people alike who resonate with that energy. Above are dear volunteers who came together to do a little yard work and were surprised by a visit from the legendary drummer Roy Haynes.
 
Tapping out a rhythm every moment of his life, Haynes is one of the last living men to have played with John Coltrane. He is an icon in his own right. A good time was had by all!
 

Coltrane Home Events at the Half Hollow Hills Library

What’s happening now is a series of events at the Half Hollow Hills Library featuring living luminaries of Jazz. Last November, it was Michelle Coltrane and harpist Brandee Younger (who has a new album – catch her interview on NPR’s “All Of It” here). Together they offered an oral, lyrical, melodical history of Alice Coltrane. It was at once cosmic and deeply down to earth.

A few weeks ago it was Camille Thurman offering a beautiful tribute “For the Love of Coltrane.” The performance showcased Thurman’s gift for dynamic control both vocally and on saxophone, the playful relationship with her drummer husband, and the gifted bassist who weaves it all together. Next up, it’s the great David Liebman.
What: David Liebman, John Coltrane, A Musical Journey
When: April 22, 2023 at 2PM
Where: Half Hollow Hills Community Library, Dix Hills
RSVP is required as space is limited – info@thecoltranehome.org
Suggested Donation: While the event is free, donations are deeply appreciated and generally range from $5-20
These programs are an AMAZING way to learn about and help advance this local legacy of universal impact.
 

Notes From Joe

photo of Coltrane Home Volunteers at the 2019 Coltrane Day

One great thing about getting involved in something you care about is finding friends who share that passion. I really appreciate how another ardent Coltrane volunteer, Joe Natter, often shares articles that help us better understand the legacy we seek to steward. Here are some of his “clippings:”

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Spring Cleaning at the Coltrane Home

Friends of the Coltrane Home

We continue to maintain that there is no deeper, more fulfilling fun than working on something bigger than ourselves with others who care, too.

One of our favorite bands of volunteers is the folks involved in transforming the John & Alice Coltrane Home in Dix Hills into a multi-faceted museum and education center that advances these incredible musical and spiritual legacies, and fulfills John & Alice’s vision of good-will and connection.

It was sooooo much fun to come together with a few of the volunteers to help spring clean the home, catch up with each other, and learn a little bit about the deeply thoughtful, community-sensitive, and legacy mindful plans they’ve been working on.

We hope to get to see more of these folks soon!!!

Follow them on Facebook and check our our own page where we’ll be sharing more images from that day soon!

Spencer’s Picks: Overcoming Pandemic Fatigue; Art, Science & Suggested Solutions; The Happiness of a Dog

Dr. Spencer Thomas atop the Uffizi in Florence, Italy

Photo of Dr. Spencer Thomas atop the Uffizi in Florence, Italy. Photo by Katheryn Laible

 

As usual, when he’s not scrying into the mysteries of metals at the atomic level, or pondering puzzles of more efficient means of tapping energy, Dr. Thomas is bringing some light into our life. Here are a few of the things he’s brought to our attention:

Now that we’re about a month into the college semester with social distancing and remote learning, a lot of people I know are feeling a bit of a drag. You are not alone: Lonliness at Pandemic U: 14 tips for college students and their parents

Along similar themes, but more for everyone:: Your Surge Capacity is Depleted. This is Why You Feel Awful (and a couple good things you can do about it)

One thing that’s helpful is — to help! Here is a heartwarming and inspiring story from one of my very favorite professors from back in my undergrad time at Stony Brook. Bente Videbaek is an amazing person who has been working hard to make sure people have masks Facebook Page: “Humans of Mather Hospital”

When you feel a bit grounded and ready to stare some of the bigger challenges facing humanity in the face: Countdown is a global initiative to champion and accelerate solutions to the climate crisis. One of the speakers, Dr. Rose Mutiso, is a friend of mine – we were graduate students together. She’s the incredible CEO of the Mawazo Institute, which supports women scientists and leaders throughout East Africa. She has also spoken at TED and written in Scientific American about the challenges that people in Africa face building digital and clean-energy infrastructure.

One for the Coltrane fans out there: The most feared song in jazz, explained. It’s not too hard for a layman to follow this breakdown of “Giant Steps,” even as it’s still among the most challenging things a musician may face

Finally, no big point here, but a bit of joy for you since we could all use it: The happiness of this dog after they put prostheses on

Spencer Thomas received his PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. After some time at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, we are DELIGHTED to welcome him back to Long Island as a researcher at Stony Brook University. He also happens to be Katie’s brother. For a time, Spencer studied metals at the atomic level; the way atoms are arranged in a material can change its properties; one can take ordinary metals make them stronger, more flexible, corrosion resistant, even radiation resistant. We’re still endeavoring to understand what he’s doing now well enough to explain it so simply.

Spencer believes that no matter who you are, good communication can put scientific concepts within reach. The modern world demands scientific literacy and it is the responsibility of scientists to make that possible.

Ron Stein: Long Island Renaissance Man

As the founder of LI’s premier Smart Growth organization Vision Long Island, a champion of the endeavor to advance John and Alice Coltrane’s legacies, Ron Stein has a tremendous knack for getting great things started.

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