National Trust for Historic Preservation to boost effort to restore and reimagine home of great significance to the highly acclaimed musicians
Press Release – Washington (October 9, 2018) – The Long Island home of John Coltrane, the pioneering jazz musician and composer, and his wife Alice Coltrane, an accomplished and influential musician and spiritual leader, was named a National Treasure today by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The National Trust will bring its nearly 70 years of expertise to help the Friends of the Coltrane Home in Dix Hills (aka “The John and Alice Coltrane Home) implement a vision for the property—now vacant and in disrepair but largely intact. This campaign will be undertaken through the National Trust’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, an initiative c0-chaired by the F0rd Foundation and actress Phylicia Rashad to uncover and uplift stories of African American achievement, activism, and community.
“The Long Island home of John and Alice Coltrane is a tangible link to an extremely creative and transformative period in the personal lives and careers of two acclaimed and a talented musicians,” said Stephanie Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “Restoring and reusing the home for music education and outreach presents an outstanding opportunity to honor the Coltranes’ values of innovation, creativity, hard work, and self-empowerment and bring it to life in a space so closely tied to their lives and careers.”
John Coltrane was revolutionizing the jazz world and Alice Coltrane was already a respected musician when they moved into their home on Long Island in 1964. The 1952 ranch-style house on 3.4 wooded acres in Dix Hills offered the Coltranes privacy and plenty of room to record, compose, and raise a family. John Coltrane spent his final three years in the home, a period of intense exploration and spiritual expression through music for him. “A Love Supreme,” widely regarded as a modern masterpiece that continues to influence and inspire musicians today, was composed in the upstairs bedroom. In the same home, Alice Coltrane expanded as an artist, adding harp and organ to her repertoire. Her groundbreaking recordings for Impulse! Records were made in the basement studio and stand as evidence of her triumph over the music world’s resistance to female instrumentalists at that time. She also began her path as a spiritual leader there.
“John and Alice Coltrane sought to elevate minds and hearts of society through their musical offerings,” said their daughter, Michelle Coltrane, an honorary board member of the Friends of the Coltrane Home. “The alliance with the National Trust for Historic Preservation will allow us to uphold my parents’ mission of supporting generations of artists and musicians and commemorate their achievements and values, which are deeply embodied in their legacy.”
The home’s history and the Coltranes’ legacy will inform the preservation, interpretation, and reuse of the home. The basement recording studio, for example, is envisioned as an interactive and creative space for students and musicians young and old. Additional plans will be designed to maximize the impact of the home to, in Alice Coltrane’s words, “inspire people of all ages and backgrounds to participate in the joy of making music and the creative process.”
“The John and Alice Coltrane Home project is more than the noble project of preserving and restoring the Home of two music and cultural giants of the past,” said Ron Stein, president of the Friends of the Coltrane Home. “Perhaps more than anything, it’s about the future and being a force for positive change. The Coltranes’ message is one of courage, commitment and compassion. With the Home as our base, our responsibility is to reach outward with that message to educate, lift up and inspire our youth, empower girls and young women, encourage the creative spirit in all, and bring people together around the healing and hopeful power of music. This alliance with the National Trust is a key step in getting us there.”
The National Trust named the Coltrane Home one of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in 2011 to help raise awareness of the home’s significance and boost momentum to support its preservation. Recent preservation efforts have focused on interior mold remediation, roof replacement, rebuilding the chimney, and stabilization of the brick masonry exterior. Support from the National Trust will guide further restoration of the home and assist with planning for the use of the land, owned by the Town of Huntington, as a park. The John and Alice Coltrane Home was included in the first class of grant award recipients of The National Trust’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund. A $75,000 capacity building grant will allow the hiring of a project manager to support The Friends of the Coltrane Home in its vision to rehabilitate and interpret the property.