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A Love Supreme, Part 1: Acknowledgement - John Coltrane (1965)

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Published on Aug 26, 2010

"Part 1: Acknowledgement" was the first track on "A Love Supreme", a jazz studio album recorded by John Coltrane's classic quartet in December 1964 and released by Impulse! Records in February 1965. It is generally considered to be among Coltrane's greatest works, as it melded the hard bop sensibilities of his early career with the free jazz style he adopted later. The quartet recorded the album in one session on December 9, 1964, at the Van Gelder Studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. The album is a four-part suite, broken up into tracks: "Acknowledgement" (which contains the mantra that gave the suite its name), "Resolution", "Pursuance", and "Psalm". It is intended to be a spiritual album, broadly representative of a personal struggle for purity, and expresses Coltrane's deep gratitude as he admits to his talent and instrument as being owned not by him but by a spiritual higher power. The track begins the album with the bang of a gong, or tam-tam, followed by cymbal washes. Jimmy Garrison follows on bass with the four-note motif which structures the entire movement, after which Coltrane's solo follows. Besides soloing upon variations of the motif, at one point Coltrane repeats the four notes over and over in different modulations. After many repetitions, the motif becomes the vocal chant "A Love Supreme", sung by Coltrane, accompanying himself via overdubs. "A Love Supreme" is often listed amongst the greatest jazz albums of all time. It was also quite popular for a jazz album, selling about 500,000 copies by 1970, a number far exceeding Coltrane's typical Impulse! sales of around 30,000. As further testimony to the recording's historic significance, the manuscript for the album is one of the National Museum of American History's 'Treasures of American History', part of the collection of the Smithsonian Institution. The Penguin Guide to Jazz selected this album as part of its suggested 'Core Collection', stating "It is without precedent and parallel, and though it must also be one of the best-loved jazz records of all time it somehow remains remote from critical pigeonholing" calling it "immensely concentrated and rich." The album's influence has been extensive and diverse. Musicians ranging from tenor Joshua Redman to the singer Bono of U2 have singled out the influence of the album on their own work. Guitarists John McLaughlin and Carlos Santana have each credited the album as one of their greatest early influences. John William Coltrane, sometimes abbreviated 'Trane' (September 23, 1926 -- July 17, 1967), was an American jazz saxophonist and composer. He was beatified by the African Orthodox Church as Saint John William Coltrane. Working in the bebop and hard bop idioms early in his career, Coltrane helped pioneer the use of modes in jazz and later was at the forefront of free jazz. He was prolific, organizing at least fifty recording sessions as a leader during his recording career, and appeared as a sideman on many other albums, notably with trumpeter Miles Davis and pianist Thelonious Monk. As his career progressed, his music took on an increasingly spiritual dimension. He influenced innumerable musicians, and remains one of the most significant tenor saxophonists in jazz history. Coltrane died from liver cancer at Huntington Hospital on Long Island on July 17, 1967, at the age of 40. This channel is dedicated to the classic jazz music you've loved for years. The smokin' hot, icy cool jams that still make you tap your feet whenever you hear them . . . Cool Jazz is here!

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Copyright 1965 Impulse! Records
All Rights Reserved

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