A Love Supreme
|A Love Supreme|
|Studio album by John Coltrane|
|Recorded||December 9, 1964, Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, United States|
|Genre||Avant-garde jazz, modal jazz, post-bop|
|Language||English ("Acknowledgement"), instrumental|
|John Coltrane chronology|
A Love Supreme is a studio album recorded by John Coltrane's quartet in December 1964 and released by Impulse! Records in February 1965. It is generally considered to be among Coltrane's greatest works, as it melded the hard bop sensibilities of his early career with the free jazz style he adopted later.
The quartet recorded the album in one session on December 9, 1964, at the Van Gelder Studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. Coltrane's home in Dix Hills, Long Island, has been suggested as the site of inspiration for A Love Supreme.
The album is a four-part suite, broken up into tracks: "Acknowledgement" (which contains the mantra that gave the suite its name), "Resolution", "Pursuance", and "Psalm." It is intended to be a spiritual album, broadly representative of a personal struggle for purity, and expresses the artist's deep gratitude as he admits to his talent and instrument as being owned not by him but by a spiritual higher power.
The album begins with the bang of a gong (tam-tam), followed by cymbal washes. Jimmy Garrison follows on bass with the four-note motif which structures the entire movement. Coltrane's solo follows. Besides soloing upon variations of the motif, at one point Coltrane repeats the four notes over and over in different modulations. After many repetitions, the motif becomes the vocal chant "A Love Supreme", sung by Coltrane (accompanying himself via overdubs).
In the final movement, Coltrane performs what he calls a "musical narration" (Lewis Porter describes it as a "wordless 'recitation'") of a devotional poem he included in the liner notes. That is, Coltrane "plays" the words of the poem on saxophone, but does not actually speak them. Some scholars have suggested that this performance is a homage to the sermons of African-American preachers. The poem (and, in his own way, Coltrane's solo) ends with the cry "Elation. Elegance. Exaltation. All from God. Thank you God. Amen."
Reception and influence
|All About Jazz||favorable|
|The Sydney Morning Herald||favorable|
|The Village Voice||favorable|
A Love Supreme is often listed amongst the greatest jazz albums of all time. It was also quite popular for a jazz album, selling about 500,000 copies by 1970, a number far exceeding Coltrane's typical Impulse! sales of around 30,000. As further testimony to the recording's historic significance, the manuscript for the album is one of the National Museum of American History's "Treasures of American History," part of the collection of the Smithsonian Institution. In 2003, the album was ranked number 47 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. The publication called it a "legendary album-long hymn of praise" and stated "the indelible four-note theme of the first movement, 'Acknowledgement,' is the humble foundation of the suite. But Coltrane's majestic, often violent blowing (famously described as 'sheets of sound') is never self-aggrandizing. Aloft with his classic quartet..., Coltrane soars with nothing but gratitude and joy. You can't help but go with him." The Penguin Guide to Jazz selected this album as part of its suggested "Core Collection" and awarded it a "crown" stating that "it is without precedent and parallel, and though it must also be one of the best loved jazz records of all time it somehow remains remote from critical pigeonholing" calling it "immensely concentrated and rich."
The album's influence has been extensive and diverse. Musicians ranging from tenor Joshua Redman to the rockstar Bono of U2 who mentions the album in their song "Angel of Harlem" have singled out the influence of the album on their own work. Guitarists John McLaughlin and Carlos Santana have each credited the album as one of their greatest early influences.
An alternative version of "Acknowledgement" was recorded the next day on December 10. This version, which included tenor saxophonist Archie Shepp and bassist Art Davis, did not feature Coltrane chanting "a love supreme," one reason he chose to issue the quartet version.
The only live performance of the "Love Supreme" suite, from a July 26, 1965, performance at the Festival Mondial du Jazz Antibes, Juan-les-Pins, France, was also remastered and released in a 2002 two-CD set by Impulse! Records with the original album and additional studio outtakes. This performance was considerably more dissonant than the studio version, and features an extended drum solo preceding the bass solo on "Pursuance."
Doug Carn and wife Jean Carn did a cover of "Acknowledgement" featuring vocals by Jean. This was featured on the album Infant Eyes in 1972. John McLaughlin and Carlos Santana recorded a guitar version of "Acknowledgement," which they titled as "A Love Supreme" on their 1973 collaboration Love Devotion Surrender. At the time, both were devotees of guru Sri Chinmoy.
Will Downing released an R&B cover version of the main theme, with the co-operation of John's widow Alice Coltrane, which reached number fourteen in the UK singles chart in 1988. Gumball recorded a rock/alternative/jazz version of A Love Supreme and was a bonus track on the Japanese release of the 1994 release Revolution On Ice. The suite also forms four tracks on the 2002 Branford Marsalis Quartet album titled Footsteps of our Fathers, and another Marsalis version is on a DVD "A Love Supreme Live in Amsterdam." Branford's brother Wynton recorded the suite in 2003 with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.
Sections of the suite have been performed by the David Murray Octet, the Ballistic Brothers, and the Bob Mintzer Big Band. Turtle Island String Quartet released their album A Love Supreme in 2007, and the album features a cover version of the suite, along with other covers of various Coltrane charts.
José James re-recorded two tracks in 2007 from A Love Supreme as a double A-Side limited-edition 10" for Brownswood Records which was available at concerts and by mail order. "Equinox" and "Resolution" were the tracks in question. James, previously a young rapper, added vocals to the tracks in a style reminiscent to some of Gil Scott Heron. Jazz vocalist Kurt Elling recorded a cover of "Resolution" for his album Man in the Air. In this recording, Elling set lyrics to the song in his signature style, vocalese.
All tracks composed by John Coltrane and published by Jowcol Music (BMI)
- Side one
|1.||December 9, 1964||90243||Part 1: "Acknowledgement"||7:47|
|2.||December 9, 1964||90244‒7||Part 2: "Resolution"||7:22|
- Side two
|3.||December 9, 1964||90245‒1||Part 3: "Pursuance"/Part 4: "Psalm"||17:53|
2002 deluxe edition
- Disc one
|1.||December 9, 1964||90243||Part 1: "Acknowledgement"||7:43|
|2.||December 9, 1964||90244‒7||Part 2: "Resolution"||7:20|
|3.||December 9, 1964||90245‒1||Part 3: "Pursuance"||10:42|
|4.||December 9, 1964||90245‒1||Part 4: "Psalm"||7:05|
- Disc two
|1.||July 26, 1965||n/a||Introduction by Andre Francis||1:13|
|2.||July 26, 1965||n/a||"Acknowledgement" (Live)||6:11|
|3.||July 26, 1965||n/a||"Resolution" (Live)||11:36|
|4.||July 26, 1965||n/a||"Pursuance" (Live)||21:30|
|5.||July 26, 1965||n/a||"Psalm" (Live)||8:49|
|6.||December 9, 1964||90244‒4||"Resolution" (Alternate take)||7:25|
|7.||December 9, 1964||90244‒6||"Resolution" (Breakdown)||2:13|
|8.||December 10, 1964||90246‒1||"Acknowledgement" (Alternate take)||9:09|
|9.||December 10, 1964||90246‒2||"Acknowledgement" (Alternate take)||9:22|
- The Classic Quartet
- John Coltrane – bandleader, liner notes, vocals, soprano and tenor saxophone
- Jimmy Garrison – double bass
- Elvin Jones – drums
- McCoy Tyner – piano
- Additional musicians
- Art Davis – double bass on alternate takes of "Acknowledgement"
- Archie Shepp – tenor saxophone on alternate takes of "Acknowledgement"
- George Gray/Viceroy – cover design
- Victor Kalin – illustration
- Joe Lebow – liner design
- Bob Thiele – production and cover photo
- Rudy Van Gelder – engineering and mastering
- Compact Disc reissue
- Joe Alper – photography
- Jason Claiborne – graphics
- Hollis King – art direction
- Erick Labson – digital remastering
- Lee Tanner – photography
- Deluxe edition
- Michael Cuscuna – liner notes, production, and remastering
- Ken Druker – production
- Esmond Edwards – photography
- Ashley Kahn – liner notes and production
- Peter Keepnews – notes editing
- Hollis King – art direction
- Bryan Koniarz – production
- Edward O'Dowd – design
- Mark Smith – production assistance
- Sherniece Smith – art coordination and production
- Chuck Stewart – photography
- Bill Levenson – reissue supervisor
- Cameron Mizell – production coordination
- Kevin Reeves – mastering
- Ron Warwell – design
- Isabelle Wong – package design
- A Love Supreme from Verve Music Group
- Kahn 2002
- Porter, 231–249. (citation for entire paragraph)
- Porter, 244. (citation for both Coltrane and Porter's quotes)
- Porter, 246–247.
- Porter, 248.
- Jack LV Isles. "A Love Supreme Overview". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-10-17.
- Robert Spencer (June 1, 1997). "A Love Supreme". All About Jazz. Retrieved 2009-10-17.
- Janowiak, John (1965-04-08). "A Love Supreme". Down Beat
- "A Love Supreme". Q. October 1995. p. 136
- D.W. (November 2, 2004). "Review: A Love Supreme". Rolling Stone Album Guide: 182–185.
- Alex Henderson. "A Love Supreme 2002 Deluxe Edition Overview". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-10-17.
- "A Love Supreme". Mojo. January 2003. p. 106
- Tom Moon (October 22, 2002). "John Coltrane: A Love Supreme (Deluxe Edition)". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on October 5, 2010. Retrieved 2009-10-17.
- "John Coltrane, A Love Supreme". Sydney Morning Herald. May 10, 2003. Retrieved 2009-10-17.
- "A Love Supreme". Uncut. February 2003. p. 91
- Frances Davis (May 30, 2006). "The John Coltrane Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved 2009-10-18.
- "A Love Supreme". The Wire. December 2002. pp. 51–53
- Channel4 - 100 Greatest Albums
- Top Albums of All-time list
- Q magazine (4/99, p.129) - Included in Q's list of "The Best Jazz Albums of All Time."
- Vibe magazine (12/99, p.160) - Included in Vibe's 100 Essential Albums of the 20th Century.
- NME magazine (10/2/93, p.29) - Ranked #36 in NME's list of the `Greatest Albums Of All Time.'
- Porter, 232.
- "A Love Supreme". National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 2008-05-28.
- Staff. RS 500: 47) A Love Supreme. Rolling Stone. Retrieved on 2010-10-05.
- Cook, Richard; Brian Morton (2006) . "John Coltrane". The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings. The Penguin Guide to Jazz (8th. ed.). New York: Penguin. pp. 273–4. ISBN 0-14-102327-9.
- Jazz/Jerry Jazz Musician/Saxophonist Joshua Redman discusses John Coltrane's "A Love Supreme" on Jerry Jazz Musician
- Kahn, xxii.
- Carlos Santana Sees The Light
- Porter, 249.
- A Love Supreme - Wynton Marsalis official web site
- allmusic ((( Octet Plays Trane > Overview )))
- allmusic ((( Rude System > Overview )))
- allmusic ((( Big Band Trane > Overview )))
- Kahn, Ashley (2003). A Love Supreme: The Story of John Coltrane's Signature Album. Elvin Jones. Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-200352-2.
- Porter, Lewis (1999). John Coltrane: His Life and Music. University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0-472-08643-X.
- Porter, Lewis (1985). "John Coltrane's A Love Supreme: Jazz Improvisation as Composition". Journal of the American Musicological Society (University of California Press) 38 (3): 593–621. doi:10.1525/jams.1985.38.3.03a00060.
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|Database entry Q5106 on Wikidata|