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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby




Crotchet
Midprice
JOHN COLTRANE
A LOVE SUPREME ( De-Luxe Edition )
John Coltrane - tenor saxophone; McCoy Tyner - piano; Jimmy Garrison - bass; Elvin Jones - drums.
Disc Two, tracks 8 and 9 : Add Archie Shepp - tenor saxophone and Art Davis - bass.
Disc One and Disc Two, tracks 6 - 9 recorded at Van Gelder Recording Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey - December 1964.
Disc Two, tracks 1 - 5 recorded at the Festival Mondial du Jazz Antibes, Juan-Les-Pins, France - July 1965.
IMPULSE! ( Double CD ) 314 589 945-2

 

DISC 1:
1. Part 1 - Acknowledgement
2. Part 2 - Resolution
3. Part 3 - Pursuance
4. Part 4 - Psalm
DISC 2:
1. Introduction By Andre Francis
2. Part 1 - Acknowledgement - Live
3. Part 2 - Resolution - Live
4. Part 3 - Pursuance - Live
5. Part 4 - Psalm - Live
6. Part 2 - Resolution - Alternative Take
7. Part 2 - Resolution - Breakdown
8. Part 1 - Acknowledgement - Alternative Take
9. Part 1 - Acknowledgement - Alternative Take

The 1960's are now looked on in many quarters as an overrated era. The hype has been stated about these years so many times that some people are led to believe that this was a true golden age and subsequent decades have paled in comparison. Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that this period was highly significant in a political, social, moral and musical sense. In all areas of popular art culture major changes were taking place and, certainly in the world of Jazz and Pop certain milestone recordings were being made. The three that spring immediately to mind are The Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds ," The Beatles' "Sergeant Pepper" and John Coltrane's "A Love Supreme". It is an amazing fact that all of these diverse and yet groundbreaking recordings took place in a total timespan of under four years. It could easily be argued that all of these artists made better records in many ways, but there is a certain indefinable quality inherent in all of these discs that has touched listeners , not only at the time of their first release, but in all of the following years. Perhaps this is what makes certain albums timeless and quite justifiably puts them into the "Classic " category.

It is perhaps easiest to deal with disc 2 first as this is the extra material not available on the original issue. Tracks 1 - 4 are from a live version of the work recorded at Antibes in 1965. This is the only known live documentation of "A Love Supreme" - it is not clear whether Coltrane played the suite in public on any other occasions. In this version the performance of the piece is some fifteen minutes longer than on the original album. Coltrane apparently was not entirely satisfied with this version, feeling that it did not take off sufficiently. To my ears, it is a very fine rendition, if I had not heard the original first I would have said it was representative of his better pieces from this era. It certainly holds its own with the other live recordings from this time. One interesting fact is that this version has been around for many years on different boot-leg albums. Any listener who is familiar with these will be amazed by the quality of the remastering- it is superb and almost sounds like a newly discovered version in comparison to the previous manifestations.

The alternative take and the breakdown on "Resolution" are bonuses, but the real surprise comes with the augmented versions of "Acknowledgement." Coltrane obviously enjoyed working with other saxophone players in the latter part of his career ( he recorded and performed extensively with both Eric Dolphy and Pharoah Sanders ) and he saw Archie Shepp as a young talent with his own voice ( see " The New Thing At Newport ").

It would be difficult to begin to describe the music on disc 1 ( for those who need this there is a more than adequate analysis in the extensive and beautifully produced booklet which accompanies this issue ). I feel that some things are better if they retain a certain air of mystery about them and feel that this suite is one such work. Understanding the nuts and bolts of the construction is not what this is about. It is far easier to be swept along by the passion and devotion which is always present here. This was, after all, John Coltrane's gift to God.

The production of this issue is magnificent, as is the packaging. This represents a modern music milestone and is an absolute essential for the follower of late 20th century popular culture. Assuredly no Coltrane collection could be truly representative without it. This is, without doubt, my re-issue of the year.

Dick Stafford

 



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