Every so often a work of art is created that not only rises above its own genre, but also rises beyond art itself into a realm of pure, perfect, profound truth. 'A Love Supreme' is one of those rare occurrences.
To even comment on the music or to the incredible musicianship, the telepathic interplay, the astonishing improvisation or the overwhelming beauty, seems highly inappropriate. To find comparison you'd need to step into a special territory of artistic accomplishment that includes other incomparable works like Kubrick's '2001,' Welles' 'Citizen Kane,' Picasso's 'Guernica,' Michelangelo's 'Pieta,' Shakespeare's 'Hamlet.'
To attempt to review, analyze or criticize it would be arrogant beyond reason. This is Art of the highest order, above judgment or question. Incredibly deep and filled with overwhelming knowledge and spirituality, new and unanticipated delights are bestowed upon the listener, or more accurately, the recipient, upon each listening.
This landmark December 1964 recording does not represent the classic John Coltrane Quartet (McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass, Elvin Jones on drums) at its peak, but rather its entrance into the peak period, three years into its four year existence. Once this music was set forth everything Trane did afterwards (and much of what came before it) justifiably rose to a level beyond criticism, where even those who didn't get into his later works can't question the validity of what he was doing. For some, this recording is the final step in their journey with Trane; to others, the first step; and to still others a profound stop on a most significant and incredible 10 year artistic and spiritual odyssey. One thing is sure though - this music represents the level to which all serious artists must aspire.
Throughout the history of this planet's civilization (so to speak), we've been occasionally blessed with certain great spirits whose purpose is to both reflect the beauty of Creation and to give us direction and guidance on our mysterious journey through life. Call them angels, saints, whatever. John Coltrane is unquestionably one of them. This music, which he dedicated to the Creator and in gratefulness for his spiritual enlightenment, may be his most significant single contribution to us mere mortals.
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