Review

A Love Supreme: The Complete Masters John Coltrane
(Impulse/Verve)

JColtrane_A Love Supreme_Jean-Pierre LeloirTenor saxophonist John Coltrane had a spiritual awakening in 1957, but one could say that there were spiritual overtones in the jazz icon’s previous work, including his sounds with Miles Davis as well as his solo recordings on the Atlantic, Blue Note and Prestige labels. With A Love Supreme, recorded in 1964 and released in 1965, the spiritual and secular met as never before. No mere collection of tunes, this was and is a suite to be listened to in one sitting.

Listeners initially found it fiercely moving or disquieting. But there is no right or wrong way to hear a new album. The most important thing to do is to listen.

Disc one of this outstanding triple disc set has the original album with his classic quartet-Coltrane soaring on tenor, McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass and on drums, Elvin Jones. No mere accompanists, they had been collaborating with him for years. They had his back. Disc two includes a sextet session recorded the next day with the fiery Archie Shepp also on tenor sax and Art Davis on bass. There are over half a dozen previously unreleased tracks on the first two discs. Disc three features the quartet in a rare live performance of the suite recorded at Antibes in 1965.

All of the elements are together in the same set for the first time and are well worth hearing.