Epic Album of the Week – A Love Supreme
Written by Ian Gerber for The Soda Shop
A few weeks back I wrote about Miles Davis’s ‘Kind of Blue’, which featured the brilliant jazz icon John Coltrane on saxophone. ‘Kind of Blue’ gave stylistic direction and set a nearly unprecedented high water mark for jazz as a genre. Five years laters, in 1964, John Coltrane made a record that, musically speaking, could be a companion to the record. ‘A Love Supreme’ was recorded in one day. Based in the form of hard bop but propelled by the exciting thoughts of free improvisation, or ‘free jazz’, ‘Kind of Blue’ transcended the ideas of jazz as musical expression into the idea that jazz could serve as a medium for spiritual enlightenment and expression. Coltrane’s lyrical, free flowing, lines were not just notes played for effect but rather a lyrical thought expressed through his horn. It is his expression of joy and thankfulness for being able to bring the essence of his soul to an artistic and jubilant statement in hope of guiding the listener through his own personal musical journey.
It’s influence on the musical community is so vast that it would be impossible to really gauge it’s true impact, beyond selling hundreds of thousands of copies of the album. I wonder what bands like Om or Earthless would sound like without John Coltrane blazing the trail before them. Consider the chant of “A Love Supreme” against the minimal chord changes with the vocal and instrumental delivery of Om’s ‘Pilgrimage’ or the extended melodic improvisation that hallmarks ‘A Love Supreme’ to Isaiah Mitchell’s blazing, spaced out guitar solos in “Cosmic Prayer”. Clearly, it is safe to say that “A Love Supreme” is something more than just a record. I would consider it a rite of passage for those who would fancy a dip in the chasm of the human psyche without having to first go through a swamp of doom and gloom.
Wherever your heavy, soul searching, psychedelic listening preferences are, you should make sure that your journey takes a pit stop with ‘A Love Supreme’.