A Love Supreme

John Coltrane

Impulse!, 1964


REVIEW BY: Shane M. Liebler


ALL PRAISE TO GOD. There are arguably as many spiritual peaks on A Love Suprememy_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 as capital letters in John Coltrane’s liner notes/letter to listeners that accompany this indisputable masterpiece.

A 33 and 1/3 featuring 3 tracks in 33 minutes, perfection is implied, but never specified. As grand as the superlative title suggests, Supreme is sublimely delivered from the eerily resonant opening cymbal crash to the stormy conclusion of “Psalm.”

There’s no Catholic apology here, only constant celebration through service. With only three words (one of which is a mere article) spoken over the course of the four-part work, Supreme is an endlessly personal and inspirational prayer.

For Coltrane this was a transition record, an offering to God inspired by his spiritual reawakening. What’s astounding is that spirit, as if touched by divine intervention, so easily transmits to the audience regardless of its musical taste or religious affiliation.

The omniscient introduction to “Acknowledgement” is humbling while companion “Resolution” sets the altar. The raw, but superior sax work on “Pursuance” builds to an exhaustive crescendo before a gentle drum and bass stanza slips the composition into its final chapter with classical calm and precision.

All the while, the listener is left to contemplate Coltrane’s message and discover his own path. Supreme is a chance to get closer than you ever will in church.

Supreme is as mysterious as it is accessible and for that matter, essential. “Let us pursue Him in the righteous path,” Coltrane wrote. “Yes it is true; ‘seek and ye shall find.’”

The journey starts here.

Rating: A

User Rating: A


© 2007 Shane M. Liebler and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Impulse!, and is used for informational purposes only.