First performance on alto saxophone by John Coltrane was recorded in July 1946 while Coltrane was serving in the United States Navy. He was a decorated war hero for joining the Navy on August 6, 1945, the day after the United States dropped its first atomic bomb on Japan.
When the war ended in late 1945, he was sent to Pearl Harbor as an apprentice seaman. To his surprise, he was invited to join the base swing band, where he quickly became one of the few musicians in the Navy without a formal music degree. When Coltrane joined the band, they referred to him as a “guest artist.”