The rise and long working hours of tenor giant John Coltrane who kicked heroin early and found God in music. Author Thomas sees him in a clear light as ""a reluctant mystic. . . a brilliant musician. . . and a decent man."" His greatest problems were his incredibly demanding practice schedule (he never met his own standards) and his overweight. He trained not only on sax scales but also blew scales for piano, violin and harp. Not especially tall, he ballooned at last to 240 pounds and was ashamed to play in public. In the middle of his career his playing expanded into ""sheets of sound"" that carried intense conviction, solos that ran on for 45 minutes like an unstoppable express, but always they were anchored in his chord studies and search for new overtones on his instrument. The present biography is workmanlike, not inspired--but it should herald new interest in Trane's genius and his penetrating innovative sound.