2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: A Love Supreme (Audio CD)
Even at his most `out there` John Coltrane sounded as if he had something beyond the confines of genre to impart, bursting as he was with, so colleague Miles Davis pointedly pointed out, an awful lot of notes! He had a lot to say, but here he tells it more quietly, contemplatively, with a spiritual undertow that is unmistakable.
Trane, who died at only forty bang in the middle of 1967`s `Summer of Love`, was of a spiritual bent, perhaps sometimes of an austere nature, for this was obviously a man battling with demons, rages, urges, as well as the urge to explain and to love.
It`s all here on this 33-minute exploration of a man`s psyche, a man`s innermost spirit.
Coltrane was, unsurprisingly, brought up in a Christian household, but married a Muslim convert (the `Naima` of his celebrated composition) yet he later embraced all religions in a courageous effort to discover the truth, his truth. He seems to have attained a certain peace of mind after meeting his second wife, Alice, whose ideas and beliefs chimed with his own.
A Love Supreme is an iconic creation, and like all unique works of art - whether jazz or a one-off masterpiece such as Astral Weeks, say, or Forever Changes - it doesn`t sound like anything else. It possesses a timbre, a texture all its own. Whenever I play it, which isn`t too often, I `feel` this music`s special atmosphere, with Coltrane`s trademark unsentimental tenor sax sound, slightly reedy, biting, occasionally otherwordly (especially here) and always truthful to the moment.
I am certainly not going to attempt to describe, or explain away, each of the three parts that make up ALS: Acknowledgement; Resolution; Pursuance/Part 4 - Psalm. The whole brief suite is to be heard, to be actively listened to, again and again, and taken into one`s life as one would an old, perhaps intense, often challenging companion.
Trane`s core quartet of pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones on drums play behind and with their leader in total sympathy. John Coltrane must have been both a commanding and a benign presence, a man of not too many words, but many notes!
If you like what is now rather quaintly called Modern Jazz, or if you`ve heard Coltrane and liked him but have yet to hear this, then don`t hesitate. I`d say it`s a pretty essential thing to have in your life.