Colored banners have brought new life to downtown Hamlet in honor of local music legend John Coltrane.
The banners, which were erected two weeks ago, can be seen along the business portion of Main Street, Raleigh Street and the business portion of Hamlet Avenue.
John Coltrane, a well-known saxophonist who performed with musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk, was born Sept. 23, 1926, in Hamlet. More than 40 years later, Coltrane was internationally considered one of the most famous jazz artists of his time.
“It’s a good time to honor his legacy,” said Miranda Chavis, director of Hamlet Depot and Museum. “John Coltrane was famous for his blending of chords and making something really simple into something beautifully complex and that’s why he was revolutionary when it came to jazz. Nobody can doubt the far-reaching effect of his music and how it really was amazing because it crossed age and socioeconomic barriers, gender gaps and color gaps in a time when the U.S. struggled to. It’s amazing how music can bring everyone together.”
Marchell David, Hamlet city manager, said she was also proud to see the new banners.
“It’s just a way of preserving our history and a way of honoring Mr. Coltrane for his many, many contributions to the music world,” said David.
A proclamation will also be made at the next city council meeting, David said, in which Sept. 23 will be declared John Coltrane Day in Hamlet.
“It will encourage our residents to listen to some of his music,” David said. “This is a part of our overall effort to continue the history of what makes Hamlet special, because it’s not just the railroad that makes Hamlet special, it’s the people as well … On behalf of the City of Hamlet, we’re proud to honor one of our own who has made such an impact on the music industry.”
Chavis said she also placed one of the new banners in the museum in honor of Coltrane.
“You can live in many places in your life but you’re only ever born in one, and that’s significant,” she said. “The fact that he had his genesis here in Hamlet … great things come from small places and he’s just another example of that.”
— Staff Writer Mallory Brown can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org