'A Love Supreme' completely changed the jazz world in 1965. It is a 33-minute work divided into four movements with the suite's main theme constructed around a simple four note pattern based on the words 'a love supreme'. 'Acknowledgment' starts the album with a heraldic summoning from Coltrane's tenor saxophone, full and joyous, which approximates the tone of the prayer he provides in the album's liner notes.
The solo that follows reveals an artist whose spiritual depth and emotional urgency are matched by an adherence to logic and a resolve to achieve one goal above all - communication. Each simple musical statement is either followed by a motivic development or countered with a conversational response.
'A Love Supreme' was recorded one December evening in Rudy Van Gelder's legendary studio in Englewood Cliffs, N.J. Pianist McCoy Tyner remembers the unusual, almost magical atmosphere surrounding the session. 'Rudy that day dimmed the lights in his studio. I'd never seen him do that and it sort of set an atmosphere. There was just something very, very special about that particular session.'
The album was named 47 in Rolling Stones' '500 Greatest Albums': 'Two important things happened to Coltrane in 1957: The saxophonist left Miles Davis' employ to join Thelonious Monk's band and hit new heights in extended, ecstatic soloing. Coltrane also kicked heroin addiction, a vital step in a religious awakening that climaxed with this legendary album-long hymn of praise. The indelible four-note theme of the first movement, "Acknowledgment," is the humble foundation of the suite. But Coltrane's majestic, often violent blowing (famously described as "sheets of sound") is never self-aggrandizing. Aloft with his classic quartet (pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison, drummer Elvin Jones), Coltrane soars with nothing but gratitude and joy. You can't help but go with him.' Rolling Stone
Original studio recordings produced by Bob Thiele
Original studio recordings engineered by Rudy Van Gelder
Mastered by Rudy Van Gelder