I have read with great interest the letters of support for the preservation of the John Coltrane Huntington house. All the letters clearly and passionately reveal the importance of Coltrane’s musical legacy in Jazz and all American Music. Nationalism aside, one must also consider his contributions on a global level equal to the past Masters of Art Music from many different and uniquely representative cultures.
His recorded corpus definitely places Mr. Coltrane in that worldly category while maintaining the uniquely American intellectual and spiritual genetic code that he, along with other Masters, helped create, refine and, in some rare cases, perfect. To call any improvisational art form perfect may be somewhat speculative, but that is exactly the point with this issue. One of the most important and successful artworks in this genre was conceived and formed in THIS HOUSE.
I believe the importance of future generations having access to this PLACE is of the utmost value. As a teacher of young people who, because of cultural and financial decisions and backgrounds, have literally no informed experience with such high Art Music, I constantly find their transformation after just a minimal amount of exposure through educational and performance environments inspirational and somewhat overwhelming. As my only tools to help them continue their aesthetic education are the traditional recordings, texts and thankfully, New York City performance venues, I can only imagine the intellectual and aesthetic value of having an actual physical PLACE for all students of culture to visit, explore and relish the Art that once resided there.
Just as with Mozart, Picasso, Hemingway, et al., I believe an argument for the importance of John Coltrane’s artistic significance is unnecessary. Time has already proven that point. But unlike the revered landmarks, museums and scholarly repositories of those great Masters, I cannot take my students to a PLACE whose walls contain the history and spirit of John Coltrane. On behalf of them and all of us dedicating our professional lives to art education, please save THIS HOUSE and the worldly fecundity within it.
Dr. David S. Lalama
Professor of Music