John Coltrane at Ralph Gleason's House, Berkeley, California, 1960

Amelia Davis: “Jim met John Coltrane in San Francisco in North Beach in 1960 and he had just performed at one of the clubs and Jim said 'Hey what’s up John?' and John said 'Do you know how to get to Berkeley?' and Jim said 'Yeah, why?' and John goes 'Well I have an interview with Ralph Gleason tomorrow in Berkeley and I don’t know how to get there.' Jim said 'Well, I’ll drive you.' So he picked him up the next day and they went over Ralph Gleason’s in Berkeley and Jim got these beautiful intimate portraits of John Coltrane.

"John Coltrane was a really nice guy and he was going to Ralph Gleason’s house. Ralph Gleason was the music critic for the San Francisco Chronicle and so he was going to be doing a story with him. Jim just drove him over and they both said you can stay and hang out while we’re doing the interview and snap away.

 

It’s pretty funny because Jim was a kind of a gruff and was always like 'I’m a Republican, I’m an American, I carry guns.' It’s funny that two of the democratic presidents collect his work.[Laughs]

 

"Jim did what he did best, he became a fly on the wall and they forget Jim was there. It was like Jim wasn’t there. That’s how he was able to get those really beautiful photographs of John Coltrane. John literally forgot Jim was there and he just clicked away.

"That was their first time meeting so Jim was really lucky. It was almost like he was in the right place at the right time which was great because that was very early on in Jim’s career as a photographer.

"That photo is actually hanging in the White House. That was an album cover and it was also given to Obama because he loves Jazz and he loves Coltrane so it was given to Obama as a present. Bill Clinton also has that photo. It’s pretty funny because Jim was a kind of a gruff and was always like 'I’m a Republican, I’m an American, I carry guns.' It’s funny that two of the democratic presidents collect his work.[Laughs]