Home Read Classic Album Review: John Coltrane | A Love Supreme (Deluxe Edition)

Classic Album Review: John Coltrane | A Love Supreme (Deluxe Edition)

After Charlie Parker, the tenor powerhouse Coltrane is the most important, daring & controversial sax player in jazz — an uncompromising, ground-breaking visionary.

This came out in 2002 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


Maybe it’s because most of the big-name pop and rock acts are hibernating. Maybe it’s because I spent the last month swinging to the Rat Pack Christmas album. Or maybe it’s just because they both start with the letters J and A. Whatever. All I know is I always seem to listen to a lot of jazz in January. Looks like this year is no exception — thanks mainly to a cornucopia of cool titles that landed in stores before the holidays. At least four respected labels — Blue Note, ECM, Impulse and Verve — have impressive and affordable new retrospectives or reissues on the racks right now. Even if you don’t know be-bop from doo-wop, I suggest you give one or two a try. Here’s a little primer to help you get into the swing on John Coltrane:

WHO: After Charlie Parker, tenor powerhouse Coltrane is indisputably the most important, daring and controversial saxophone player in jazz — an uncompromising, ground-breaking visionary who revolutionized the sound of his instrument, his playing and his art form.

WHEN: For all his impact, Coltrane’s career was relatively brief — he rose to prominence when he joined Miles Davis’s group in 1955, went solo in 1960 and died in 1967 of liver cancer at age 40.

WHAT YOU GET: Oh, not much — just one of the top five jazz albums in history. Coltrane’s 1964 masterpiece A Love Supreme was an album-length modern-jazz suite that stands as the pinnacle of his recording career, perfectly and gracefully merging his estimable musicianship, his forceful, avant-garde playing style (aptly described as “sheets of sound”) and his newfound spirituality into a mesmerising, transcendent and essential 32-minute document. Here, it not only comes in a newly remastered version whose crystal-clear sound quality renders previous versions obsolete — it also includes an extra disc containing long-lost alternate takes and the only full live performance of the piece.

WHERE HE FITS IN: Front and centre with the gods of jazz — and in every music lover’s collection.