A Love Supreme – John Coltrane (1965)

Album no. 53/1001

Well. Would you look at that. A jazz album. Who’d have thought? Having said that, A Love Supreme is meant to be one of the most highly acclaimed jazz albums EVER.

John Coltrane was a saxophonist who influenced literally anyone who plays, has played or will play the saxophone. This album has appeared on stacks of ‘greatest album’ lists and is considered John Coltrane’s masterpiece. It’s a very spiritual album, every song goes for at least seven minutes, and is supposedly inspired by an almost-drug overdose Coltrane had in 1957.

Have you listened to this album before?

CL: No. The only ‘Love Supreme’ I know is the one by Robbie Williams, but I don’t think they’re related.

NK: Not a once.

Standout track

CL: THERE’S ONLY FOUR TRACKS, HOW HARD CAN IT BE?

NK: Picking a stand out track is really hard! I think this is a bit like old mate Charles Mingus, and you need to listen to the whole thing in one go.

CL: It’s actually quite hard because I didn’t like any of them. The best bit was probably the drum solo at the beginning of ‘Pursuance’. But it was a genuine struggle to get through the whole 10 minutes. I very nearly turned the whole thing off but I FORCED myself to keep listening. Unfortunately, there was very little payoff.

NK: That drum solo is pretty sweet. However if you put a gun to my head, I think I’d pick ‘Part 2 – Resolution’.

When would be the best time to listen to this?

CL: Ok. How do I put this. This is not for a jazz beginner. Or even an intermediate. This is ADVANCED JAZZ. By all means, give it a red hot go – but it is not suitable for someone looking for a cohesive song or sense of melody. IT’S WEIRD AND HARD.

NK: I mean, I don’t disagree with you about it being weird, but I didn’t hate this nearly as much as I’ve hated some of the other jazz, or even some of the other albums. I enjoyed this more than The Beach Boys yesterday, that’s for sure. I didn’t get bored listening to this. A bit lost, sure, but not bored. I think this is an evening record, maybe after dinner?

Why has this album been included on the list?

CL: You know how Bill Evans and his trio just sort of played their individual instruments in the same room at the same time? That worked for me – as you may recall, I quite liked that album – but this is too much. I found no sense of unity or cohesion – it really was just people making noises with instruments. I also have no idea how someone can say this album is “spiritual”. I don’t get it.

NK: I strongly disagree about Bill Evans! I think John Coltrane and his mates are way more on the same page than Bill’s crew were. At least the rhythm section are doing things that can be followed. I do keep noticing the drums though, as you said above. Some real virtuosic playing on this album.

CL: Virtuosic playing. Which basically just means doing whatever you like. I suppose it takes a certain amount of talent to just ignore everyone else around you and play what you want.

Will you be listening again?  

CL: Nah. Sorry. It’s just too weird for me. My face was in a permanent grimace for the entire 33 minutes. I was very pleased when it stopped.

NK: Yeah I think so. I quite liked it. I might go back and listen to some earlier John Coltrane and see if that’s any easier to get into. But let’s face it, there’s no way I’m going to have time to do that until we’re finished with this project. Sorry John.

Rating

CL: This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.

NK: This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.

Listen to A Love Supreme on Spotify or buy it in iTunes.

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