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Carlos Santana leads John Coltrane house fundraiser

Guitar legend Carlos Santana speaks at the Save

Guitar legend Carlos Santana speaks at the Save the Coltrane Home fundraiser at EN Japanese Brasserie in Manhattan. (Oct. 06, 2013) Credit: Yana Paskova

Guitar legend Carlos Santana on Sunday led a major fundraising effort to restore the Dix Hills home of jazz great John Coltrane and transform it into a museum and educational center.

Generations of fans -- teenagers and those in their senior years -- paid homage to Coltrane at EN Japanese Brasserie in Manhattan as part of the Save the Coltrane Home benefit. About $1 million is needed to create the museum, organizers said, but $375,000 also has to be raised to open part of the home to the public.

Santana, who did not perform, told the crowd of hundreds that music can change lives, particularly for youths.

Some "youngsters have a lack of self-worth," Santana said. "But if they are reminded of people such as Coltrane, they'll change."

Coltrane, a saxophonist, is considered by some music buffs and historians to be among the most influential American composers in any musical genre. He died in 1967 in Huntington Hospital.

Jonathan Bodian, 16, of Dix Hills, a classical guitarist born decades after Coltrane died, arrived early at the restaurant on Hudson Street so he could meet Santana and honor Coltrane.

"I love Coltrane," the teen said. He "goes so far out on his melody that it's abstract. But then he brings it back to the theme [and] . . . it finally makes sense."

East Village resident Bruce Morris, 72, said he saw Coltrane perform many times between 1957 and 1966. "Coltrane touched more than music," Morris said.

Before the event, academic and activist Cornel West spoke. "The legacy of John Coltrane is one of the most precious in this country because he is about the unarmed truth and unconditional love."

Coltrane's son, Ravi Coltrane, 48, also a saxophonist, played some of his father's songs at the benefit, where tickets cost $215 each.

"The house is a symbol really of his music and what he believed in," Ravi Coltrane said.

Steve Fulgoni, a vice president of the nonprofit Friends of the Coltrane Home, the Huntington Town-approved foundation managing the property, said the restaurant and the special guests donated their services so that all proceeds will go to the foundation.

The town bought the 3.4-acre estate for $975,000 in 2005 from a developer, who had plans to demolish the house. Coltrane and his family lived at the Candlewood Path house between 1964 and 1967.

The property in 2011 was named among America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

The four-bedroom ranch home is where Coltrane composed what is considered his masterpiece: "A Love Supreme."

The foundation in 2011 received $43,000 in grants from state parks and the National Trust for Historic Preservation to fund a report to guide restoration of the site. But an architectural firm's donation of the report freed up the grants that allowed the foundation to use the money for some recently completed projects, including a new roof, soffits and gutters.

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