A new mural dedicated to jazz icon John Coltrane in Philadelphia comes after the removal of a 12-year-old Coltrane mural that was taken down in 2014.
The original mural was made in 2002 by artist John Lewis but was taken down 12 years later to make way for real estate development.
“When the mural went away, there were people who reached out to me, scholars from Los Angeles, Chicago. There was a universal outcry,” Mural Arts Executive Director Jane Golden said in an interview with WRTI. So Golden partnered with the developer to raise funds for a new mural, with artist Ernel Martinez building on some of the images that were a part of the original mural while making Coltrane a giant looming above the neighborhood with saxophone in hand. The mural also includes images of Coltrane performing, as well as him and wife Alice Coltrane.
“I wanted it to be rich and vibrant, similar to his music, but also layered and complex,” Martinez said. “I wanted the mural to reflect his humanity, more than anything else: his eyes, the love of this music and his instrument. I wanted to evoke that warmth, that emotion, that glow you get through his music in the mural.”
Coltrane had lived in Philadelphia back in 1952, having purchased a home on North 33rd street when the area was populated by jazz clubs.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Coltrane’s death.