Michael Fremer Rated 8/11 Music, 7/11 Sonics!
This newly discovered live recording of a performance of the Love Supreme suite is a revelation. Recorded at The Penthouse in Seattle on October 2, 1965, this recording transports the listener to a prime seat for a piece of musical history. While not studio-quality audio, the power of the performance shines through. This version is also of the full suite and features an expanded band that includes the same Classic Quartet and Pharoah Sanders in his first official gig as part of Coltrane's group.
This is like a Da Vinci scholar discovering another Mona Lisa
It's a startling performance. The package design is simply stellar and the liner essays by critic/historian Ashley Kahn and Coltrane biographer Lewis Porter are educational, authoritative, and indispensable.
You'll wish the musicians could have been placed on the stage to produce a great recorded blend but that's really asking for too much. As the notes describe, they were too far into their musical and spiritual world to care much about microphones or what the audience was experiencing. Excellent musical and historical annotation add to the physical package's value as does the clean, quiet double 180g Optimal pressing quality.
Here's a rare case where the impact of the music being pressed to vinyl far outweighs the somewhat questionable sonics of the finished release. Discovered in the archives of the late musician Joe Brazil were tapes that featured a live recording of John Coltrane and an expanded backing band performing all of A Love Supreme at Seattle's The Penthouse in 1965. It is, to date, only the second known live recording of this monumental work of spiritual jazz. But unlike the many recent archival releases taken from live dates at the same venue, this wasn't recorded with broadcast quality in mind. Instead, the two microphones were set up close to McCoy Tyner's piano and Elvin Jones' drum kit. So the work of Coltrane, his fellow saxophonists Pharoah Sanders and Carlos Ward and bassists Jimmy Garrison and Donald Rafael Garrett is muted - discernible but entirely overpowered by the splashy attack of Jones and Tyner's percussive flair. Does that matter? Yes and no. The whole recording plays like the bootleg it was, which might turn off some less patient listeners. But there's no denying that the power and generosity of the moment comes through. With some audible coaxing, Coltrane pulls something deep from within his fellow musicians, sending Sanders into a frenzy of desperate groans on 'Pursuance', giving Jones space for a six minute solo and parting the curtain for Ward, a young alto player early in his career, to shine.
- Double LP
- Gatefold Jacket
- Made in Germany
- A Love Supreme, Pt. I - Acknowledgement
- Interlude 1
- A Love Supreme, Pt. II - Resolution
- Interlude 2
- A Love Supreme, Pt. III - Pursuance
- Interlude 3
- Interlude 4
- A Love Supreme, Pt. IV - Psalm