John Coltrane’s Masterpiece Breathes New Life With ‘A Love Supreme: Live In Seattle’

John Coltrane, photographed performing at The Penthouse during a run of performances in Seattle, Wash. in 1965. A recording of one, long lost, is now being released as A Love Supreme: Live in Seattle.
Chuck Stewart/Courtesy Universal Music Group


John Coltrane‘s A Love Supreme, recorded near the close of 1964 and released early the following year, inhabits an exalted plane beyond the realm of most other albums, in any musical genre. Easily one of the most celebrated jazz recordings ever made, it radiates a deep, devotional gravitas — a palpably focused ardor that has long inspired actual worship, as Jazz Night in America explored in a recent documentary short.

Today, Impulse! announced the October release of A Love Supreme: Live in Seattle. Recorded at the end of a weeklong residency at The Penthouse by Joe Brazil, one of Coltrane’s trusted friends, it presents this music in a glorious new light, and with remarkably clear sound. (Brazil used the club system, two microphones and an Ampex reel-to-reel, and then preserved the tapes for nearly half a century, as if guarding a Holy Grail. 

The music on A Love Supreme: Live in Seattle is sublime in every sense of the word, without a trace of monotony. Its release is as significant an event in jazz-historical terms as any archival gem unearthed in the last decade or more. But that’s an academic way of stating the case, which is that this album contains both the focused fire of A Love Supreme, as a call of gratitude to the divine, and the more chaotic fervor of the “New Thing” then coalescing in Coltrane’s creative circle. It feels fully realized and bursting with possibility, all at the same time.

Read and listen to the full story by Nate Chinen on NPR Music