This Oct. 23 photo shows a historical marker outside the Dix Hills, N.Y. home of jazz legend John Coltrane. (AP Photo/Frank Eltman)
In 2011, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named the house one of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. “Although John Coltrane did not set out to write ‘A Love Supreme’ as a message about civil rights, this seminal work transcended racial barriers and became a symbol of unity at a time when the nation remained greatly divided over the issue of race,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
The house features a large meditation room that Coltrane’s wife, jazz pianist Alice Coltrane, used for several years until she moved to California in 1973. The basement had a recording studio — long since removed — where the couple performed. Alice Coltrane died in 2006, shortly after meeting with the Long Island group and signing off on restoration efforts, according to Fulgoni.
Last month’s event in Greenwich Village sparked some serendipity.
Greta Olsen, a former tenant who had rented a room, took a large stained-glass window that had adorned the meditation room when she moved in 2002. An attorney for the developer said the contents of the house were going to be thrown away, she said, so she was permitted to take the window.
Then she heard a news report about the Santana fundraiser and contacted Fulgoni’s group to return the 4-foot-round window.
Olsen, who now lives in nearby Bellport, said she never found a proper place for the window in her home but held onto it nevertheless.
“I was so grateful I was able to return it,” she told The Associated Press. “I guess there was a reason why I had this thing. It’s a little part of the history.”
At last month’s fundraiser, West sounded more like a preacher than a Princeton professor as he spoke of his admiration for Coltrane.
“I want to thank all of those who had the courage and the vision to bring us together to make sure the world always understands that John Coltrane embodied love, John Coltrane is courage exemplified; John Coltrane is genius enacted.
“He enriched my life in a way that I do not have words to describe.”