Bringing the same fresh and engaging approach to music that characterized his critically acclaimed Kind of Blue: The Making of the Miles Davis Masterpiece, Ashley Kahn has written an even more illuminating celebration of saxophone legend John Coltrane's 1964 spiritual opus and masterwork. A Love Supreme is a passionate and revealing portrait of a timelessly resonant musical statement, artfully balancing biography, analysis, and a palpable enthusiasm that anyone from the casual listener to the avid fan will enjoy.
A Love Supreme was written with the full cooperation of Coltrane's family and features the voices of more than a hundred musicians, producers, and witnesses, including the surviving participants in the album: Elvin Jones, pianist McCoy Tyner, and engineer Rudy Van Gelder. With unpublished interviews with Coltrane and bassist Jimmy Garrison and scores of never-before-seen photographs, A Love Supreme weaves a rich historical backdrop to the 1964 recording and examines the questions and myths surrounding the album.
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Ashley Kahn is the author of Kind of Blue: The Making of The Miles Davis Masterpiece. As a journalist and editor, he has contributed articles to the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Mojo, and many other publications. He also served as primary editor of Rolling Stone: The Seventies and primary contributor to Rolling Stones Jazz & Blues Album.From Booklist:
*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
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