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A Love Supreme (Deluxe Edition)

John Coltrane

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Album Review

Inevitably, certain jazz titles will be reissued over and over. Miles Davis' seminal Kind of Blue has been reissued many times, and you can safely assume that A Love Supreme will continue to be a decent seller (by jazz standards) as long as it keeps getting reissued. What separates this deluxe 2002 reissue of the John Coltrane classic from all of the previous versions that have come out over the years? For one thing, this version is a two-CD set; the previous versions were either single CDs or single LPs. While disc one offers the digitally remastered (again) contents of the original A Love Supreme, disc two is devoted to previously unreleased material — all of which is aimed at serious collectors. Part of disc two focuses on a July 26, 1965, appearance at the Antibes Jazz Festival in France, where Coltrane, pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison, and drummer Elvin Jones perform A Love Supreme's four-piece suite in its entirety. The quartet favors an inside/outside approach, and their live performances of "Acknowledgment," "Resolution," "Pursuance," and "Psalm" are more accessible than the atonal free jazz that Coltrane provided in 1966 and 1967. The rest of disc two is devoted to studio material from December 1964, including alternate takes of "Resolution" and "Acknowledgment." Collectors will be thrilled to learn that the two "Acknowledgment" outtakes find tenor saxman Archie Shepp and bassist Art Davis joining Coltrane's quartet; neither Shepp nor Davis are present on any of the previous A Love Supreme reissues. Casual listeners are advised to pass on this double CD and stick to a single-CD version of A Love Supreme — this two-disc set is strictly for collectors and hardcore fans, and those who fit that description will no doubt find it to be fascinating.

Biography

Born: 23 September 1926 in Hamlet, NC

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s

Despite a relatively brief career (he first came to notice as a sideman at age 29 in 1955, formally launched a solo career at 33 in 1960, and was dead at 40 in 1967), saxophonist John Coltrane was among the most important, and most controversial, figures in jazz. It seems amazing that his period of greatest activity was so short, not only because he recorded prolifically, but also because, taking advantage of his fame, the record companies that recorded him as a sideman in the 1950s frequently reissued...
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