John Coltrane – Owned & Stage Played Alto Saxophone With Full Documentation

John Coltrane’s personal alto saxophone, owned by the jazz giant and played during his 1966 tour of Japan.  This prototype Yamaha saxophone was sold by the John Coltrane Foundation at the legendary Guernsey’s Jazz Auction in February 2005, and is extensively documented.  The auction description reads, in part, “Yamaha Nippon Gakki Alto Saxophone, made in Japan, serial #015 with case.  This alto saxophone was produced in 1966…and was gifted by the Yamaha Corporation (who) requested that John Coltrane inspect and evaluate it.  This prototype saxophone became the model “YAS-1″ in 1967.”

While best known for playing tenor and soprano horns, Coltrane first began playing saxophone on the alto in 1940, at at age 14.  He played alto intermittently until mid 1951, when he devoted himself almost exclusively to the tenor sax, though he did play alto on a 1958 Prestige recording as a member of the Gene Ammons All Stars.  In 1966, Coltrane toured Japan with a band that included Pharoah Sanders, and he and Sanders were each given Yamaha prototype saxophones to promote the company’s new line of instruments.

Coltrane played this horn extensively during his two week tour, much to the delight of the Japanese audiences.  He is heard playing it on various live albums recorded in Japan including “Second Night in Tokyo,” and pictured using it on the cover of the 4 CD set “Live in Japan.”  Coltrane can also be heard playing the Yamaha alto on the album “Stellar Regions.”  A number of photographs exist of Coltrane playing this horn, and photos from a 1969 issue of the Japanese jazz magazine Swing Journal picture it in Coltrane’s home studio in Dix Hills, New York.

This is one of only two Coltrane saxophones to be sold by his family to benefit The John Coltrane Foundation, and as such has impeccable provenance.  With the original case, copies of the original Guernsey’s receipt and catalog pages, digital copies of photographs of Coltrane playing the horn, and our lifetime guarantee of authenticity.  A truly museum quality collectible of the highest order.

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