John Coltrane’s Signature Statement: A Love Supreme

Surely, John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme has relevance today and carries a message which speaks to the necessity of improving the human condition through elevated consciousness and practice. Coltrane produced a musical statement which tapped into the spiritual consciousness of a broad range of people- student and worker, white and black, religious and non religious. More than a jazz classic, A Love Supreme, transcended the musical category and time. As drummer Elvin Jones put it, “John deserves all the recognition-all the credit-for what A Love Supreme became. It was his music, his technique, his philosophy of sound, his liner notes. It’s unique. In a sense, it’s not even jazz. It broadens the concept of what music was. It’s totally spiritual.”

Recorded in December 1964 and released the following year, A Love Supreme is a tribute to God and represents an autobiographical statement of Coltrane’s “spiritual Awakening” and “remaking” of himself, casting off the artificial pleasures of drugs and alcohol for joy of living and experiencing life at a higher level. A Love Supreme is one of jazz’s great concept albums, a forty minute suite that links together four different pieces into a larger spiritual statement on the promise and power of love. In brief, Coltrane’s statement is that love trumps everything and has the capacity transform lives, putting us in touch with our ‘better selves’ and in the process honoring God or the highest values of humankind which becomes a manifestation of God.

Reference: Freedom is. Freedom Ain’t: Jazz and the Making of the Sixties, Scott Saul and A Love Supreme: The Story of John Contrane’s Signature Album, Ashley Kahn

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