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Son of jazz great Coltrane dies in car crash

LOS ANGELES -- An auto accident has claimed the life of John Coltrane Jr., son of the legendary jazz saxophonist and a promising young musician himself.

Police said Coltrane, 17, was going to his family's home in the Woodland Hills area before dawn Saturday when another teenager, who was driving Coltrane's new car, veered across the southbound lanes and smashed head-on into a parked car.

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Coltrane, who had told 17-year-old Derrick Traylor he was too tired too drive, died instantly. Traylor, who did not have a license, was listed in stable condition Monday at Canoga Park Hospital with head and abdominal injuries.

Funeral arrangements were pending for Coltrane. His father, one of the major innovators in jazz history, died in 1967 of a liver ailment.

Despite success in high school football, Coltrane had decided to pursue a career in jazz, playing string bass.

'He had a lot of similarities with his father,' his mother, Alice Coltrane, said. 'He had all the ability to be a great musician.

'He thought very highly of his father and he was beginning to listen and understand his music.'

A week before his death, the youth joined his mother and two younger brothers, Ravi, 17, and Oran, 15, at UCLA's Royce Hall in their first public performance as a family.

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The family had been planning a 1983 tour through the United States and Europe, but Mrs. Coltrane said the group now might disband.

'The two (younger) boys were quite affected,' she said. 'I did not insist on them pursuing a musical career, and it will be the same now. It's up to the children if they want to continue.'

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