8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
An American Classic,
This review is from: A Love Supreme (Audio CD)
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.