During the December of 1964, one of the most iconic jazz albums was recorded, acting as a three-way crossroads for old and upcoming styles. We celebrate 50 years of John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme.
Kind Of Blue is often perceived as the omega of jazz thanks to the mainstream media’s depiction of the genre. This of course is nonsense as jazz just moved into new territory, as it had in preceding decades. By 1964, hard bop was still popular but making way for other aesthetics such as the modal jazz pioneered by Miles Davis and the more chaotic style of free jazz. But for one artist, a combination of all three would act as the palette for one of jazz’s biggest records.
John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme” was recorded on 9th December 1964, making it 50 years old this week. The four-part album was a spiritual journey, encapsulating Coltrane’s own feelings towards his life, talent and instrumentation, acknowledging them as God-given rather than taught. Its influences stretched as far as Bono, who referenced the album on U2’s Angel of Harlem, and even Sunderland AFC who named their fanzine after the album and opened the door not only for the likes of Carlos Santana, Gil Scott-Heron and his great nephew Flying Lotus but also the gateway for Coltrane’s personal spirituality.
Even if you’re not a religious person, the sanctity of this record cannot be mistaken. There’s an omnipotence to each chord choice, each cadence, each word spoken or played.
Head over to NPR Music to read more thoughts on A Love Supreme and stream it in full below.