I'm a jazz fan, I mean I've listened to a lot of jazz records in the past and I'm still checking out a lot of records in the meantime. Jazz is weird, it's dissonant, filled with syncopation, and just littered all through it is improvisation. The core components of Jazz stay the same with piano, bass, drums, and the occasional yet still very popular saxophone, in a lot of old-school jazz albums they usually prefer the saxophone over the piano yet if both are used it still won't ruin the album, but in the case of most artists at the time they tend to use the saxophone a lot more often in the case of before the year of 1960. Examples of some notable albums are Somethin' Else by Cannonball Adderley, Grant Green's Idle Moments, Giant Steps by John Coltrane, and Out To Lunch by Eric Dolphy, I've listened to John Coltrane's album Giant Steps and was immersed by his techniques and chord changes in the album, it felt special and unique but boy oh boy was I not expecting a perfect album by the name of A Love Supreme.
Pt. 1 of this masterpiece is named "Acknowledgement" wait y'know I wanna talk about something, first of all this album can be viewed in 2 ways, a progressive piece about love where we can take it from a concept standpoint and a showmanship and musicianship view. The overall composition and arrangements that were here are top-notch and are played very well, I like that sometimes it takes a bit of a weird side and occasionally only features drums and sometimes even vocals, it's an amazing album from the composition and how this piece was played, but once we view it from a concept standpoint where there's a story it just shows how flawless this album is. Ok Ok, let's get back to Part 1 "Acknowledgement", it all begins with the sound of gongs which slowly fade out and transition into what sounds like the clearest and most perfectly tuned saxophone of all time with a piano in the background that sounds so subtle that with good headphones it sounds like Coltrane is beside you while the piano is far off, the level of detail is amazing and how crystal clear the saxophone sounds already gives this album a good score. As eventually the drums come in and the ride cymbal gets hit on by the sticks repeatedly eventually the bass comes in playing this really catchy riff that follow the rhythm of the album's name, A Love Supreme Ba Dum Badumm. I know I know it's probably not clear what the actual album sounds like just from my description but that's all mainly because the experience of listening to this album cannot be described just by a few words. Anyways from a concept standpoint, this song perfectly describes the feeling that the title implies, "Acknowledgement" and considering the album's name is "A Love Supreme" this is most likely talking about the feeling of acknowledgement from let's say a high school crush or someone you have feelings for and how you're falling for them. And the chaos that ensues could just be the aftermath of that experience.
Resolution's first 20 seconds begins with a great bass riff that acts as a mediator or interlude between 2 parts of chaos and experimentation. Until eventually, the full band comes in packed with drums, bass, piano, and saxophone until eventually, we get what is in my opinion my favorite bit of Coltrane's performance that is underappreciated, his intonation and vibrato on his saxophone that effectuates my manly desire of instruments that use the power of the voice. Until we get a really impressive piano solo while the drums and bass keep the album in check and consistent, the musicianship in this album was spectacular and one of the high points in the album, which follows up with a combination of 2 instruments doing their own thing, the piano going off on a tangent and still hitting those chords perfectly as Coltrane's wild instrumentation comes to shove with what is one of the most bravado and a show of "Look what I can do, and it's much better than what you did" This 2nd part shows to me that nostalgic experience of finding someone that you fall for and eventually slowly but surely mustering up the courage to ask them out and treat them right. It might be one of the few jazz albums that just consistently feel so relatable and could be a companion piece for life right now.
"Pursuance" part 3 of A Love Supreme is wow, it just perfectly encapsulates the feeling of pursuing something, i.e in the context of this album the pursuit of love. It's genius really, it begins with a drum solo that slowly becomes more complex and intense which can demonstrate the feeling of running to something like your life depends on it, like an essay on an album that you forgot was on your schedule. As the drums get more intense we feel the adrenaline surging through our veins and tension and that feeling of "If I don't catch up I'll lose it forever" is on full display with what is possibly one of the greatest drum solos in jazz history. As then the saxophone, piano, and bass come in we can feel the sound of the snare drums slowly but surely the saxophone begins to take over the place of the drums until the piano solo comes in, oh man it's astonishing how you can know so much just from the way the instruments were played, the staccato on the piano demonstrates this feeling of hyperintensity and the scales and arpeggios that are played give you the sense of going back and forth from one place to the other trying to finish what you started. As the saxophone uses scales and arpeggios to weave you into one heck of a track that rounds itself off with a real bravado and an arrogant yet still humble drum solo which transitions itself into the solo part for the bass, it's quiet and simple yet it still leaves an impression of the calm after the storm and from a concept standpoint is a masterpiece because the really loud drum solos could be demonstrating us or a character running and tuning out the sounds of the outside world as he only focuses on his footsteps and the deadline, as he continues to walk he eventually realizes that it was a lot more complicated than he thinks it is or in the case of love, he tries to woo his love over and tries desperately to get their attention, but the bass solo at the end could just be the feeling of failure or the feeling of winning, more likely the latter though to better come in tandem with the next track.
"Psalm" from a literal sense is a book from the Old Testament that contains scared songs, hymns, or poems meant to be sung. In the Hebrew Bible, Psalms begins as the final section of the biblical Canon, simply known as writings. From the description I gave here you want this song to give you a heavenly and connected to the universe feel and of course, Coltrane knew what to make when he heard about this definition. One of the most beautiful and spiritually concise jazz songs of all time. As the piano plays the first chord and the war drums start banging, we feel this sense of dread from the drums yet are comforted by the piano and saxophone of which they perfectly complement each other until the drums kick in with that sense of dread feel welcoming and warm, while as Coltrane's sax rings to our ears and as the piano in the background plays its chords in tandem with the sax, I can say this album knows when to play it safe and when to experiment with its instrumentation as the drums of Elvin Jones gets replaced by the bass of Jimmy Garrison, it's where this album truly shines. In the end track where the sax hits high notes, the drums continue to give you this sense of uneasy until the rest of the instrumentation eases you right into your seat or your bed, this track does not fall flat.
But until the track ends, it comforts you in tandem with the concept I've talked about. This track is about the feeling of gratefulness and the feeling of being at home or satisfaction. It's the feeling of the love you have for someone being mutual and it benefits both parties, it's that sense that even in the most trying times there will always be a good end to things, whether that be the satisfaction that you have completed something or the mutual feelings you and your love share for each other, anyways. As the track ends with the bass, drums, and sax slowly fading into this sense of nothingness. Ohh, oh boy was that an amazing fucking album, it just describes the feeling of love perfectly from a jazz point of view, the way each instrument was played the intonation to speed the intensity of each track felt like all of it was intentional, Coltrane's quartet left everything up to interpretation and you could describe this as another "Coltrane banger" but I'd much rather dissect this album piece by piece from the aspects and standpoint that this album talks about love, in a way that no other jazz album can. Coltrane wasn't messing around when it comes to music, "Giant Steps" is an amazing album from the way it was recorded and the story from its title track, but... I'd much rather still have that feeling of love at first sight, much like love from first listen. Cheers Coltrane for your accomplishments as an artist and as a figure that everybody who listens to Jazz respects, you've been through a lot but still this is one of your greatest accomplishments of all time until we forget his name we can enjoy listening to his album for another day. I'm nightshade, this review is probably a bit overdone considering how LONG it is, like holy shit it's what 5 paragraphs? A bit overkill but, it's fine because I've got a lot to talk about just from the multiple listens,, until I die I will never dislike this album. Anyways, yo I'm nightshade, hope you're well. One love. Peace.
OVERALL IMPRESSION OF THE ALBUM: MASTERPIECE, FUCKING FLAWLESS.
1. Pt. 1 - Acknowledgement - 100
2. Pt. 2 - Resolution - 100
3. Pt. 3 - Pursuance - 100
4. Pt. 4 - Psalm - 100
PERFECTION: OF COURSE!
GENRE: HARD BOP, JAZZ
NOTES: OK, THIS IS BETTER THAN GIANT STEPS