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Old 03-14-2004, 04:20 PM   #1
Jigglypuff
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(Jazz) John Coltrane - A Love Supreme

´╗┐The masterwork of saxophonist John Coltrane, A Love Supreme remains a cultural icon: a life-changing work of art that resounds on all spiritual levels. A four-part suite about faith and redemption, it is more than a statement of piety, more even than the beautiful music contained within. A Love Supreme inspired and defined a generation, who responded to Trane's message of universal peace and love; but you don't have to be part of the former hippie revolution or even know anything about religion to feel the power of the music. Only the most sullen athiest would not be moved by A Love Supreme, and no musician can deny this is one of the most formidable jazz quartets of all time: holding court with Trane is his student piano virtuoso McCoy Tyner, and the rocket-fueled rhythm section of bassist Jimmy Garrison and drummer Elvin Jones. It is said that before making this particular album, Coltrane was spoken to by God; and after hearing A Love Supreme that rumour is not hard to believe at all.

A Love Supreme, Pt. 1: Acknowledgement (Coltrane) - 7:47

It's clear A Love Supreme is something special the instant you hear the dramatic opening notes of "Acknowledgement" - an awakening of sorts. The opening cadenza leads to Jimmy Garrison introducing the simple four-note theme of the album on his bass, which re-appears many times on various instruments and in different registers. Under a melodic piano intro, Jones lays down an Afro-Cuban groove while Garrison vamps and Coltrane takes an exceptionally long and expressive solo. Later in the piece, he leads the group in a vocal chant of "A love, supreme" to the tune of the opening bass line. The excellent timekeeping of Jones lends a hypnotic feel, similar to the quartet's work on "My Favourite Things" four years prior.

A Love Supreme, Pt. 2: Resolution (Coltrane) - 7:25

Garrison's unaccompanied ending segues into a short introduction, before the group launches into the hard-swinging bop of "Resolution". This second movement symbolizes the fury of commitment to a new path, and the group plays appropriately: Trane's intense, Eastern-flavoured theme is supported by Jones' furious fills and comping. Tyner, then Trane solo in turns; and their masterful licks show just how talented the group was to make a spontaneous, one-take album like this.

A Love Supreme, Pt. 3: Pursuance/Pt. 4: Psalm (Coltrane) - 17:50

The uptempo blues of "Pursuance" is introduced by means of a frenetic solo by Jones, which gives way to the dizzying syncopations of Garrison beneath Tyner and Coltrane. The longest jam also contains excellent extended soloes by both men, and in many ways it's not only the fastest and most tonally adventurous piece but the most pivotal: "Pursuance" represents actually attaining the goal itself.

The best is yet to come, though, as Garrison takes a long, flamenco-inspired ending solo to bridge the final two sections of this one-take wonder.

"Psalm" is a very slow, dramatic and unique piece; played with no guidelines except a key and an approximate tempo, Coltrane "reads" the poem from the liner notes on his horn, in a very free and lyrical style. It has been said often that Coltrane's tone recalls the human voice, and it is hard not to be moved by his extremely vocal improvisations. The thunderstorm beneath him is created by Elvin on tympani, while Tyner and Garrison toil away in the low register. It's as if the heavens really did part to give us this beautiful piece, and the climax is simply amazing, when Coltrane intones the notes "All from God, thank you God; AMEN."

Personnel:

John Coltrane: Tenor Saxophone
McCoy Tyner: Piano
Jimmy Garrison: Bass
Elvin Jones: Drums, Percussion

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I have seen God, and I have seen ungodly; and there can be no greater. It is, truly, A Love Supreme."

Last edited by Jigglypuff; 06-05-2004 at 08:45 PM.
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Old 03-14-2004, 06:01 PM   #2
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I've always enjoyed A Love Supreme, but I think it's a bit overrated. There are better Coltrane albums out there, like Interstellar Space or some of the live albums like Live In Japan.

Another thing I could never understand is why people consider this album "avant garde jazz". Although there is some overlapping tonality throughout the album, it still sounds very melodic and inside.

I'd probably give the album a 4/5.
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Old 03-15-2004, 11:33 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nissos
I've always enjoyed A Love Supreme, but I think it's a bit overrated. There are better Coltrane albums out there, like Interstellar Space or some of the live albums like Live In Japan.

Another thing I could never understand is why people consider this album "avant garde jazz". Although there is some overlapping tonality throughout the album, it still sounds very melodic and inside.

I'd probably give the album a 4/5.
"Avant-garde" doesn't necessarily mean "atonal". And even if you think there are better Trane albums you can't deny the cultural significance of this work.
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Old 03-15-2004, 05:31 PM   #4
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Uh. Not avant-garde in any way.

However, it's a stunning album, although I prefer "Impressions" and "Live at Birdland". I've listened to this a ton and what still amazes me the most are McCoy Tyner's swashes of color on the keys - the man was truly a master.

~BirdsOfFires on Chrissies name.
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Old 03-15-2004, 08:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Led_Zep_Bonham
Uh. Not avant-garde in any way.

However, it's a stunning album, although I prefer "Impressions" and "Live at Birdland". I've listened to this a ton and what still amazes me the most are McCoy Tyner's swashes of color on the keys - the man was truly a master.

~BirdsOfFires on Chrissies name.
Sure, it was totally de rigeur to compose album-length suites in 1964. Now how about I hear Led_Zep_Bonham on Chrissies name?
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Old 03-18-2004, 10:49 PM   #6
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Great review. My favorite jazz recording ever, and I suppose it could be called Avant-Garde.
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Old 03-19-2004, 03:18 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Led_Zep_Bonham
Great review. My favorite jazz recording ever, and I suppose it could be called Avant-Garde.
Much good karma on you.
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Old 03-19-2004, 06:24 PM   #8
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Yes, yes, yes, I love this album. "Psalm" = ownage.
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Old 06-05-2004, 08:47 PM   #9
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Is nobody else interested in this album?
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Old 06-07-2004, 01:29 AM   #10
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I'm interested in getting this album. I need more jazz in my life.
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Old 06-07-2004, 08:25 AM   #11
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It was voted the second greatest jazz record ever (http://home.austarnet.com.au/petersykes/jazz100/) behind Kind Of Blue, I need to check it out soon.
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Old 06-08-2004, 12:02 AM   #12
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My personal belief is that God (or whatever the hell you want to call it) is in music, and whenever I want to back up my position, I cite albums like this one.
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Old 06-09-2004, 11:34 PM   #13
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I've now listened to this album.

It is sheer brilliance. A true masterpiece man, I love it!
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Old 09-05-2004, 10:06 PM   #14
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I have Giant Steps. I was going to buy this but the only version I can find around is the Ultra deluxe 2 disc special feature set which is like $30.
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Old 09-05-2004, 10:10 PM   #15
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This has got to be one of the finest recordings ever.
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Old 09-05-2004, 10:15 PM   #16
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It's waaay up on my to-get list, along with Mahavishnu Orchestra's "Birds of Fire".

Zappa sent me the opening track to the album, and it's excellent; I must hear the rest.
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Old 09-05-2004, 10:46 PM   #17
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I did?
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Old 09-05-2004, 10:48 PM   #18
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I did?
Yeah, remember? You sent me a whole folder of jazz songs, with other stuff in it like A Night In Tunisia, Giant Steps, Birdland, etc.

Good stuff.
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Old 09-11-2004, 08:50 AM   #19
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I just listened to this album for the first time. I really don't know anything about jazz, but I know that this album is friggin awesome.

I've barely heard any jazz before, never really been into it... but this has blown my mind open, and now I want more.

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Old 09-11-2004, 11:16 AM   #20
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I don't remember that, Kaden, no. Wow.

Tomahawk, if you have Soulseek or AIM, and I send you lots and lots of other jazz albums that you'd probably appreciate.
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Old 09-11-2004, 12:16 PM   #21
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This sounds interesting I'll check it out.
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Old 09-11-2004, 08:31 PM   #22
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I can't stop listening to this CD.
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Old 12-25-2004, 12:38 PM   #23
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I finally got this album today for Christmas. I can say that it is an incredible album and that you did a great job reviewing it. I got the sheet music for tenor sax as well. I guess I will try to learn some of this if I can.
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Old 12-25-2004, 11:27 PM   #24
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Thanks for your comment on the review ("Jigglypuff" is my old account under which I wrote it). Do you have the transcription book for tenor sax, or did you get the sheet music some other way? I'm interested in it.
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Old 12-26-2004, 09:31 AM   #25
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The transcription book for tenor sax. Here's the Link to it.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0634038877/qid=1104078500/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/002-0813516-8434406?v=glance&s=books
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Old 12-26-2004, 06:04 PM   #26
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Maybe I'll pick that up. I want to play the solo from "Acknowledgement" and all of "Psalm".
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Old 01-13-2005, 10:06 AM   #27
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I've downloaded two tracks of it (the shortest) and I'll try to get into it, which will take a while, because the closest to jazz that I listen to now is Atheist.
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Old 01-13-2005, 02:17 PM   #28
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This was my introduction to Coltrane. My uncle told me to just sit down and listen to the whole album all the way thru without doing anything except listen to the music. I did that and a few days later I bought the album. Good stuff.
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Old 01-13-2005, 06:06 PM   #29
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i thought id download this album too take a look. I can understand why you guys like it, but its not really something I can get into. I still cant make myself like jazz.
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Old 01-14-2005, 01:51 PM   #30
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John Coltrane is the God of musical spirituality.
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