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

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Recorded by his quartet in a single session in 1964, John Coltrane's A Love Supreme is widely considered one of the greatest jazz albums of all time. A significant record of Coltrane's 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 is also an embodiment of the deep spirituality that characterized the final years of his life. The album itself comprises a four-part suite; the titles of the four parts - 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 seminal jazz recordings. In Beyond A Love Supreme, author Tony Whyton explores both the musical aspects of A Love Supreme, and the album's seminal importance in jazz history. Using criticism of late Coltrane recordings as a starting point, Whyton suggests ways of listening to these recordings that can be considered outside the conventional ideologies of mainstream jazz practice. Beyond A Love Supreme concludes with a study of the broad musical and cultural impact of the album, examining the relationship between the recording and music, literature, poetry and film. An essential addition to the library of jazz musicians and aficionados of all levels, Beyond A Love Supreme is also an indispensible resource for the jazz scholar.