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4.6 out of 5 stars
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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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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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on 1 May 2010
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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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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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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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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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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on 24 September 2015
It's only recently that I've started to get into Jazz. I have some Coltrane on CD but always prefer vinyl. I bought this on vinyl as it seemed to be the most highly rated of his releases. I was a little worried that it would be wall to wall tenor sax but what is delightful about this album is that it gives equal time to all the players and so achieves a perfect balance as far as I'm concerned. It is every bit as good as its reputation.
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on 10 July 2015
I have always had a passing interest in jazz, following a recent turntable purchase i have set out on re-building my vinyl collection, i listened to a discussion on this album on radio 4 and decided to purchase, i have not been disappointed, even with my limited jazz knowledge, i can sense that something special was happening in this recording, apparently they only playing this live once, and losing coltrane at 40 yrs is a shame
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on 15 May 2013
"A Love Supreme" is a superb record. I see it more as a work of art or a piece of art rather than just music. Had he lived god only know where Coltrane's music would have headed but I am sure he would have broken more & more barriers.....
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