John Coltrane, US Navy enlistment photo. 1945.
Coltrane, born in 1926, is 18 years old in the photo. From the Tumblr of Jazz at Lincoln Center …
In 1945 John Coltrane, at the age of 18, entered the Navy as a “volunteer apprentice seaman” and a year later made his first recording with a Navy band called the “Melody Masters.”
The Melody Masters, a segregated band stationed in Oahu, HI were not officially allowed to play with black musicians. An Excerpt from the book “Coltrane: The Story of Sound” By Ben Ratliff states that Coltrane appeared as a guest of The Melody Masters by evading the knowledge of their superior officers. The band made private recordings together, eventually pressing four copies of a 78 RPM record.