COMPOSERS: John Coltrane
PERFORMER: John Coltrane, Archie Shepp (ts), McCoy Tyner (p), Jimmy Garrison, Art Davis (b), Elvin Jones (d)
CATALOGUE NO: 589 945-2
While A Love Supreme has remained in the catalogue since it was recorded in 1964, achieving sales of a million worldwide by the Nineties, this release is unique in several ways.
First, the studio version is remastered by the album’s original engineer Rudy Van Gelder from master tapes recently discovered in EMI’s London vaults, thus eliminating the audio flaws present on all previous digital versions of the album.
Secondly, the mystery of Archie Shepp’s involvement in the session is cleared up once and for all with the first ever release of an alternative take in which he participates. And finally, and most excitingly, the set includes the only live performance of A Love Supreme recorded at the Festival Mondial du Jazz Antibes, in Juan-les-Pins, France, in 1965, the one time Coltrane performed the entire four-movement suite in front of an audience.
Intended by Coltrane as his ‘gift to God’, this suite uses a four-note motif in sequences, permutation and repetition to provide the raw material on which the compositions are based as well as basic thematic material for his solos.
This album was the culmination of Coltrane’s modal period; in June 1965 he embarked on the free jazz period that would occupy him until the end of his life and, together with his first ‘pattern running’ phase, it was almost as if Charlie Parker had arrived in jazz three times, such was the impact of Coltrane’s innovations. One of the most important reissues of recent times. Stuart Nicholson