John and Alice Coltrane Home
Tucked away in the residential neighborhood of Dix Hills, this two-story, brick and wood frame home was where John and Alice Coltrane chose to put down roots and raise their family from 1964 to 1973. John and Alice wrote and recorded some of their most enduring works in this peaceful suburban setting.
Built in 1952, the John and Alice Coltrane Home in Dix Hills is similar to other Midcentury Modern residential buildings in the region. One of the most significant rooms in the home is the second-floor bedroom where John composed his masterwork, A Love Supreme, in 1964. Equally important is the basement, which served as Alice’s studio where she recorded her first album, A Monastic Trio, in 1968.
Other rooms provide further snapshots of the Coltrane family’s life and creative process. The living room on the first floor, which retains its original herringbone patterned and wood paneled walls, wood ceiling beams, circular windows, and brick fireplace, inspired Coltrane’s “Living Space” on his 1965 album Crescent; the album was based on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech after the infamous Birmingham bombings. The original shag rug in Alice’s meditation room (a key part of her spiritual and musical identity) is still intact. And a small room in the northwest corner of the second floor—since converted into a kitchenette—was fondly called the “Jackson Five fan club room” by the four Coltrane children.
Alice and John Coltrane’s Personal History
In 1963, Alice McLeod met John Coltrane when her band, the Terry Gibbs Quartet, played on the same bill as Coltrane at Birdland in New York City. Coltrane had already achieved considerable fame at this point, having collaborated with Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, and Thelonious Monk. He and his Classic Quartet had also found commercial success with the release of albums My Favorite Things, Coltrane Plays the Blues, and Coltrane’s Sounds.
McLeod and Coltrane took to each other quickly after this meeting. In 1965, McLeod joined the Classic Quartet as a pianist, and she continued to play and record with his group until his death in 1967.
Around the same time, McLeod and Coltrane began a romantic relationship. The couple bought their Dix Hills home in 1964—the same year Coltrane composed A Love Supreme—and moved in with McLeod’s daughter, Michelle, just one month before their first son, John Jr., was born.The album’s spiritual message was saturated with even more meaning after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Selma march and the assassination of Malcolm X. Coltrane only performed A Love Supreme twice before his death.
Alice and John married in 1965 and had two more children, Ravi and Oranyan, before John died of liver cancer in 1967. Alice went on to record A Monastic Trio, as well as Journey in Satchidananda; Ptah, the El Daoud; and Universal Consciousness (an uninterrupted, meditative album of organ music) in the Dix Hills home’s basement studio.
The Future of the John and Alice Coltrane Home
In 1973, Alice sold the home and moved with her children to California. The house changed hands multiple times until a local developer slated it for demolition in 2002. Thanks to the urging of Steve Fulgoni and other local supporters, along with extraordinary support from music lovers from all over the world, the town of Huntington purchased the property in 2006. Friends of the John and Alice Coltrane Home now owns the home, while the Town of Huntington continues to own and maintain the land. In 2011, the John and Alice Coltrane Home was listed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places List.
While the home has been successfully saved from the threat of demolition, it still needs significant repairs. Recent preservation efforts have focused on interior mold remediation and stabilization of the brick masonry exterior. Future work will involve planning for the landscape and use of the land as a park, and—as part of the home’s interpretation—bringing the famous basement recording studio where Alice recorded her first seminal works back to life. The National Trust will work with the local community and the Coltrane family to assist the Friends of the John and Alice Coltrane Home in implementing a shared vision for the future of the house.
The Dix Hills home provides a unique opportunity to interpret the lives, values, and legacies of both John and Alice, and the National Trust and our partner are committed to creating a new kind of historic site at the John and Alice Coltrane Home—one that will inspire visitors to embrace the creativity, love of music, social justice, and goodwill embodied in the lives of both artists.
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