John Coltrane was a legendary jazz saxophonist and composer who made significant contributions to the genre during his career in the 1950s and 1960s. He was known for his innovative approach to jazz, incorporating elements of Indian classical music and free jazz into his compositions.
In terms of contemporary jazz artists who are following in Coltrane's footsteps in terms of innovation, several names come to mind.
One such artist is Kamasi Washington, a saxophonist and composer who has been making waves in the jazz world in recent years. Washington draws heavily on Coltrane's spiritual jazz aesthetic and has been praised for his innovative approach to the genre, incorporating elements of hip hop, R&B, and classical music into his compositions.
Another contemporary jazz artist who is pushing the boundaries of the genre is Thundercat, a multi-instrumentalist who has been described as a "genre-defying" musician. Thundercat incorporates elements of funk, soul, and electronic music into his jazz-influenced sound, creating a unique and innovative musical experience.
In addition to these two artists, there are several other contemporary jazz musicians who are making a name for themselves with their innovative approach to the genre. Some of these include Robert Glasper, who is known for his innovative fusion of jazz, hip hop, and R&B, and jazz pianist and composer Brad Mehldau, who has been praised for his unique approach to jazz, incorporating elements of classical music and pop into his compositions.
It is worth noting that the jazz genre is constantly evolving and that there will always be new artists who are pushing the boundaries of the genre and following in the footsteps of jazz legends like John Coltrane.
Source: "John Coltrane." The Oxford Companion to Jazz, edited by Bill Kirchner, Oxford University Press, 2000.