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4.6 out of 5 stars
A Love Supreme
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on 2 December 2002
What can be said of Coltrane's transcendent 'A Love Supreme' that hasn't already been spoken or written? A great deal, I'm sure. But first you have to enter its extraordinary sound world. That is by far the most important thing: to take the suite on its terms, and to be prepared to alter your expectations and presuppositions accordingly. For, as Robert Fripp would put it, it is a music that invites you into its presence. It is there way before you are. And its transformation of jazz is still not finished.
As most reading this will know, the studio version is tracked by a full live rendition (issued independently on CD in 2000) from the Antibes jazz festival 1965. You need to check that out too, and the remastered Impulse recordings -- based on new master tapes released in October 2002 -- are perhaps the best place to begin. But you might be intrigued by this, dense compressed version, which is all we had from the studio until more recently.
Wherever you start, 'A Love Supreme' still retains the capacity to surprise, entice and delight even the most over-taxed ears; surely a true testimony to its greatness. Winnowing sax, uncomplicated melodic sophistication, subtle modal delights, percussive ingenuity (not just from the drummer) and a spirit of blazing but well-tempered spiritual passion make these inter-twining tracks what they are: wholly entrancing.
To add to the delight of discovery there is also a new book which helps to fill in the background to the album, the era that witnessed its birth and the creative force behind it. ‘A Love Supreme: The Creation of John Coltrane’s Classic Album’ by Ashley Kahn (Granta Books 2002 (ISBN: 186207545X), has a Foreword by percussion legend Elvin Jones. It is full of information and insight, of course. But it is best to begin with those magical notes...
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 30 November 2004
It's a testament to John Coltrane's artistic vision that a piece of uncomprimising music such as a 'A Love Supreme' can be heard for the universalism it stands for. Recorded in a studio in New Jersey in late 1964, Coltrane had spent a week alone in a room in his house away from his wife and children. During that time of contemplation and isolation, he put pen to paper to bare his soul to God and the essence of 'A Love Supreme' was born. I don't think it was a coincedence that at the time this album was recorded in the mid-60's, a new philosophy of spirituality and peace & love began to prevade popular music in general. The Church of St. John Coltrane still resides in that bastion of hippiedom San Francisco.
The music on the album itself is powerful not just for Coltrane's playing itself but also for the fanatical interplay of the quartet. 'Acknowledgement' opens with Garrison's passionate bass line, leading into Coltrane's dynamic and ingenious playing, the quartet's spirited performance like a fervant, untamed emotion that has gripped them all. 'Resolution' blazes from the record with Tyler burnishing the track with some brilliant playing of his own. Jones's frantic drumming comes to the fore on the opening of 'Pursuance', a track where the meaning of 'Chasin' The Trane' becomes self-evident as Garrison, Tyler and Jones follow in hot pursuit of their leader's furious joy. Tyler's playing is again compelling as the quartet trade notes with such alarming velocity before Garrison's bass tip-toes and leads us like the pied-piper to the concluding 'Psalm'.
It's refreshing in this day and age to hear an artist whose sincerity and integrity shines through his work.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
The most well known of Coltrane's works, Pure emotion & thanks giving for his life & work. recorded on one day in Rudy Van Gelders studio (10th Dec. 1964). This is a must for all lovers of Coltrane.
Recommend reading Ashley Khans' book of the recording & explanation of how it was developed as a thanks giving to God for bringing him through the troughs of addiction & alcaholism to a better life. Great bass by Jimmy Garrison, piano with McCoy Turner & Elvin Jones drumming are all so well integrated.
A real emotion puller but not for "traddies"
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 1 February 2005
This is very much a Desert island disc for me, and it is just amazing. 'Trane is unbelievable all of the time on this record, as the rest of the band is, and Drummers listen to the start of track three one of the best things ive ever heard on drums! This is only gonna be a short review, but straight to the point, great album, my favorite Trane album, and probably alot of other peoples, not enough words to describe its brilliance! This truely is a Love Supreme!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
If you prefer digital formats over Analogue then this is possibly the best version you are ever going to own of this classic album.
The new High Fi Pure Audio Blu ray release of the album comes with a 96/24 LPCM transfer from the original tapes. The sound is lush and full of air with a tightness to the sound that you just don't get with Vinyl. The bass sounds tight and natural, the drums sound precise and the sax positively sings, Rudy Van Gelder captured the sound of the band very well, and this Blu Ray release brings that all out very well.
The album is of course a Jazz classic and unlike many in the HFPA series this version comes with extra tracks 8 music and one live introduction, these were originally released on the deluxe Double CD of the album released around 2002 all of these appear to be in 96/24 stereo as well and amount to an extra hour and quarter on the original 33 minutes of 'A Love Supreme'. Overall I don't think you will get a better sounding re-issue
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
John Coltrane's "A Love Supreme" is a classic of American music in any genre. Recorded in 1965 on Impulse! the album features Coltrane's quartet consisting of Coltrane on tenor sax, Jimmy Garrison, double bass, Elvin jones, drums, and McCoy Tyner, piano. "A Love Supreme" is a highly-integrated, intense work of about 33 minutes in four parts titled Acknowledgement, Resolution, Pursuance, and Psalm. In its emotional depth, musical complexity, and spirituality, "A Love Supreme" takes jazz to an extraordinary musical level.

This music has deservedly become iconic even for listeners who know little about jazz or Coltrane. In its passion and wildness, it is music that shows its 1960s origins while surmounting them. This is highly spiritual music which Coltrane created after overcoming a long drug addiction. The religious character of the piece is apparent on even a casual hearing, but there is nothing sectarian in the work. The music is both personal and universal.

The work ranges from the meditative to the searching to the ecstatic. There are long, intricate and complex solos by Coltrane throughout, most of which vary a four-note phrase stated at the opening of the music and then chanted at the end of the first part as a mantra to the words "A Love Supreme." The work uses the entire range of Coltrane's sax and more as he overblows and shrieks to suggest his spiritual quest. The work ends with a slow Psalm, with Coltrane moving to a mystical close. Each of the quartet members also have incandescent solos in the work, especially the percussion of Jones in the second and third parts, Tyner's piano in "Pursuance" and Garrison's long bass solo which opens "Psalm." The third and fourth parts of the work tend to run together without pause as I hear them although some listeners hear them as separate, discrete sections.

I listen to and review a good deal of American classical music on Amazon. It offers insights into the American experience that sometimes are overlooked. Coltrane's "A Love Supreme" is an inspiring masterpiece in a distinctly American art form. I loved revisiting "A Love Supreme" which stands easily with the best accomplishments of American art.

Robin Friedman
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 21 December 2013
It's a wonderful CD showcasing one of Americas finest and most expressive musicians. The quartet are together in a way that can only come through playing and listening to each other for a long time. Highly recommended.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 6 July 2012
Mr Kim Tait, a saxophonist, muso/artist and friend argued that Coltrane was the greates saxophonist to draw breath. Hands up any of you who knew that the saxophone was invented by a Belgian. I don't think he had Mr Coltrane in mind as a prime exponent of his instrument which was more for the oom-pah generation. Nevertheless, as well as Mr Tait, there were the Liverpool poets dropping Coltrane into their verses. I stumbled into jazz in the early seventies through a Harvey Mann/Bobby Jasper track "Tel Aviv" which made me a fan of the saxaphone. But Coltrane remained for many years in the too hard basket to listen too. All that discord and screech. Truth was I did not have the framework or discipline then to listen let alone appreciate what this man was able to do with music. So in comes Mr Tait-endless nagging and I succumbed. First off, all agree he is a bloody genius. No easy listening modality for this man. His whole life was spent in experimenting with the sounds he and others collectively could crate. Secondly, read his biography, he comes across as a decent human being. Not the average muso with show ponying behaviours, temper tantrums etc. But this as a first listen? It was hard work. But it paid dividends to perservere. Firstly, look at the combination of players. McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones. each accomplished in their mastery of their instrument and could have been earning big bucks playing in more main stream ensembles. But they were driven to share the vision of Coltrane that everything is in constant flux.I have two Coltrane tracks on my Ipod, a version of "My Favourite Things" and "Chim, Chim-whatever from Mary Poppins". Both scour you to the soul as they are deconstructed, reconstructed and just when you think they are imploding they explode in celebration. Thank you Mr Tait, you were so right. Coltrane is worth the journey and I am privileged to have made it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 23 June 2013
This is essential music. Mysterious, compelling, intense; none of my adjectives mean anything, Its probably best if we don't speak about it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 5 October 2006
Every jazz album you listen to takes a few listens to get into and this is the same for a love supreme, but once this album gets into you it will be a part of your life as it is now one of my favourite albums. Buy this album! you will not regret it!
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