Payweek Picks: John Coltrane - A Love SupremeNovember 22, 2013
Evenings are pretty much the only time I have to sit back and unwind. So, naturally, I try to escape to my listening room to enjoy an album or two in the darkened space before it’s time to retire for the night. What better music is there for such an occasion than jazz?
I’ve been slowly adding to my “essential jazz” collection over the last few months: Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, John Coltrane’s Giant Steps, Dave Brubeck’s Time Out, Dave Grusin’s Homage to Duke, and now, another classic, John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme.
Coltrane struggled with addictions to alcohol and heroin that jeopardized his health and cost him his career playing saxophone alongside Miles Davis in the late 1950s. Claiming to have had a spiritual awakening shortly after being fired by Davis, Coltrane set forth to become sober.
In the album’s liner notes, Coltrane writes, "In the year of 1957, I experienced, by the grace of God, a spiritual awakening, which was to lead me to a richer, fuller, more productive life. … As time and events moved on, I entered into a phase which is contradictory to the pledge and away from the esteemed path. But thankfully now, through the merciful hand of God, I do perceive and have been fully reinformed of his omnipotence. It is truly a love supreme."
This four-track album featuring "Acknowledgement", "Resolution", "Pursuance", and "Psalm," is seemingly intended to be a representation of his personal struggles and gratitude to the higher power he believes is responsible for his talents.
John Coltrane's A Love Supreme is recognized by many as being a musical masterpiece and is one of the greatest selling jazz albums of all time. Listening to it, you’re embarking on a spiritual and emotional journey with Coltrane himself.
Leave a comment below; let me know what your must-have albums are.