A Love Supreme: The Story of John Coltrane's Signature Album

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9780142003527: A Love Supreme: The Story of John Coltrane's Signature Album
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Few albums in the canon of popular music have had the influence, resonance, and endurance of John Coltrane's 1965 classic A Love Supreme-a record that proved jazz was a fitting medium for spiritual exploration and for the expression of the sublime. Bringing the same fresh and engaging approach that characterized his critically acclaimed Kind of Blue: The Making of the Miles Davis Masterpiece, Ashley Kahn tells the story of the genesis, creation, and aftermath of this classic recording. Featuring interviews with more than one hundred musicians, producers, friends, and family members; unpublished interviews with Coltrane and bassist Jimmy Garrison; and scores of never-before-seen photographs, A Love Supreme balances biography, cultural context, and musical analysis in a passionate and revealing portrait.

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About the Author:

Ashley Kahn is the author of critically acclaimed Kind of Blue: The Making of the Miles Davis Masterpiece; the primary editor of Rolling Stone: The Seventies, and a primary contributor to The Rolling Stone Jazz & Blues Album Guide. His freelance features on music and culture have appeared in the New York Times, TV Guide, MOJO, Newsday, The New York Observer, New Statesman (UK), Jazz (France), GQ (Japan), Down Beat, Jazz Times and many other publications. He was music editor at VH1, and has also been a concert producer and tour manager, working with a wide variety of artists from Paul Simon, Peter Gabriel and Britney Spears, to Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Cassandra Wilson and Debby Harry and the Jazz Passengers.

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*Starred Review* Coltrane was already a jazz colossus, acclaimed by peers, critics, and audiences alike, when he, pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison, and drummer Elvin Jones recorded the spiritually informed four-part suite A Love Supreme, very efficiently and in sequence, on December 9, 1964, in recording engineer Rudy Van Gelder's New Jersey studio. After its release and much greater popularity than avant-garde jazz customarily enjoys, Coltrane became a spiritual as well as musical hero to every subsequent generation of jazz players and listeners. Here Kahn does for A Love Supreme what he did in Kind of Blue: The Making of the Miles Davis Masterpiece (2000) for Coltrane's former employer's biggest hit, and because A Love Supreme was pivotal in Coltrane's career--he became the fountainhead of free jazz almost immediately after recording it--Kahn winds up writing the great saxophonist's biography again, more lucidly, if in less detail, than anyone has before. He injects fine sidereal pieces on Impulse! Records, Van Gelder, the prayer at the heart of the suite, the single live performance of it, and the recording's many editions over the years, which will soon include an augmented two-CD version, the only companion to this lucid, brilliant, resplendently illustrated book that could better it in aesthetic satisfaction. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Publisher: Viking, 2002
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