After nearly six decades, a private recording of a rare, nightclub performance by John Coltrane of his magnum opus, “A Love Supreme,” is set for commercial release this fall. Recorded in late 1965 on the culminating evening of a historic week-long run at the Penthouse in Seattle, “A Love Supreme: Live in Seattle” captures Coltrane as he began to expand his classic quartet —adding Pharoah Sanders on second saxophone and Donald Garrett on second bass — and beginning the intense, spiritually focused final phase of his career.
You can hear “A Love Supreme, Part IV – Psalm,” now:
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Coltrane seldom performed “A Love Supreme” after originally recording it in the studio in 1964. Composed and created as a public declaration of his personal spiritual beliefs and universalist sentiment, it became a best-seller and received a Grammy nod the next year. For more than six decades, it seemed the only recorded public performance of A Love Supreme took place at a French festival at Juan-Les-Pins in July 1965 and was released almost 20 years ago. The tape reels containing this newly discovered performance from October 1965 sat in the private collection of Seattle saxophonist and educator Joe Brazil, heard by a few fortunate musicians and friends, and largely unknown until now.
“A Love Supreme: Live In Seattle” features John Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders on saxophones, McCoy Tyner on piano, Elvin Jones on drums, and Jimmy Garrison and Donald (Rafael) Garrett on basses. Carlos Ward, then a young saxophonist just getting started on the scene, sat in as well.
As puts it in the liner notes, the album “offers the first evidence of the master of spiritual expression performing his signature work in the close confines of a jazz club…on October 2, 1965, a Saturday, in Seattle, the necessary elements were in alignment: music, players, venue, a spirit of connection, a certain political charge. Coltrane chose to perform it, and significantly, the moment was recorded.”
The music on A Love Supreme: Live In Seattle was recorded with a two-microphone set-up onstage, connected to an Ampex reel-to-reel machine, and the only copies of the tapes were well for, yielding a remarkably clear and distortion-free recording. “What’s remarkable is that tapes from this era often suffer over the years from heat or moisture damage, or simply being stacked horizontally,” writes engineer Kevin Reeves who produced this release. “However, these tapes are in excellent condition… and the results are among the best amateur recordings of John Coltrane we’ve had the pleasure to work on.”
A Love Supreme: Live in Seattle
A Love Supreme, Pt. 1 – Acknowledgement (Live in Seattle/1965)
Interlude 1 (Live in Seattle/1965)
A Love Supreme, Pt. II – Resolution (Live in Seattle/1965)
Interlude 2 (Live in Seattle/1965)
A Love Supreme, Pt. III – Pursuance (Live in Seattle/1965)
Interlude 3 (Live in Seattle/1965)
Interlude 4 (Live in Seattle/1965)
A Love Supreme, Pt. IV – Psalm (Live in Seattle/1965)
Recorded by Joe Brazil at The Penthouse, Seattle WA
Restored and Mastered by Kevin Reeves at East Iris Studios, Nashville, TN
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