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Beyond a Love Supreme: John Coltrane and the Legacy of an Album by Tony Whyton

Recorded by his quartet in a single session in 1964, A Love Supreme is widely considered John Coltranes magnum opus and one of the greatest jazz albums of all time.

In Beyond A Love Supreme, Tony Whyton explores both the musical complexities of A Love Supreme and the albums seminal importance in jazz history. Marking Coltranes transition from the bebop and hard bop of his earlier recordings to the free jazz style perfected throughout the rest of his career, the album also embodies the deep spirituality that characterized the final years of his life. The titles of the four part suite--Acknowledgment, Resolution, Pursuance, and Psalm--along with the poem Coltrane composed for inclusion in the liner notes, which he recites instrumentally in Psalm, reflect the religious aspect of the album, a quality that contributes to its mystique and symbolic importance within the canon of major jazz recordings. But Whyton also shows how A Love Supreme challenges many of the traditional, unreflective assumptions that permeate jazz culture--the binary oppositions between improvisation and composition, black music and white music, live performance and studio recording. He critically examines many of the mythologizing narratives about how the album was conceived and recorded and about what it signifies in terms of the trajectory of Coltranes personal life. Sifting through the criticism of late Coltrane, Whyton suggests ways of listening to these recordings that go beyond the conventional ideologies of mainstream jazz practice and open the music to a wider range of responses.

Filled with fresh insights into one of the most influential recordings in jazz history, Beyond A Love Supreme is an indispensable resource for jazz scholars, jazz musicians, and fans and aficionados at all levels.
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Carlos Santana & John McLaughlin - A Love Supreme

A Love Supreme

Sept 22 at 8pm. Sept 23 at 8pm. Sept 24 at 2pm. Indeed, improvisation is composition in the immediacy of the moment. An hour full of grace and movement. Absolute magic.

Collectively, this brilliant orchestra goes where no large ensemble has gone before. Marsalis intends to follow this recording with personal and commissioned big band arrangements of the Coltrane music on Crescent, Coltrane Plays the Blues, Giant Steps, and Transition. All great music should be played in as many contexts as possible. That is one of the reasons that we have the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. The concert had revolutionary impact because selections of the largely neglected music of a sequoia of jazz were presented as if played for the first time. Even Ellington fans had not heard that music performed in the flesh and a new direction for jazz was opened on that night.

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Saint John Coltrane - A Love Supreme - BBC Documentary (2004)

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