Sunday, June 24, 2018

John Coltrane: A Love Supreme (1965)

“During the year 1957, I experienced, by the grace of God, a spiritual awakening which was to lead me to a richer, fuller, more productive life. At that time, in gratitude, I humbly asked to be given the means and privilege to make others happy through music. I feel this has been granted through His grace. ALL PRAISE TO GOD.”
John Coltrane, liner notes, A Love Supreme

John Coltrane [1926–1967]: A Love Supreme, released by Impulse! Records in January 1965.

The complete album was recorded in one session at Van Gelder Studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, on December 9, 1964. The album is a suite of music that contains four parts: “Acknowledgement,” “Resolution,” “Pursuance,” and “Psalm.” The music is unashamedly devotional, with deep religious and spiritual roots, an aching search and a resolute and gracious acknowledgement of a Supreme Being and His Love.

Not your typical jazz album, no doubt, chiefly because the music is about personal transcendence, an honest declaration of spiritual awakening and of love, of reaching up, reaching out, letting go. It is about the integration of mind and heart, an integration that many of us seek. “Seek and you shall find.” The music touches our innermost being, our soul, bringing us to a place that finds Grace.

Less than three years later, Coltrane was no longer with us in a physical way, having been taken from this earthly scene when he was only 40. Nevertheless, he left us the legacy of his music and his spiritual inspiration, which lives on, as does the words to his declarative poem found [here]. It begins: I will do all I can to be worthy of Thee O Lord./ It all has to do with it./Thank you God. /Peace.

The Quartet
John Coltrane: bandleader, tenor & soprano saxophone
McCoy Tyner: piano
Jimmy Garrison: double bass
Elvin Jones: drums, timpani & gong