I’ve been meaning to post this video and write about it for some time now. Coltrane’s A Love Supreme is one of the musical pieces I know best: I’ve been listening to it on a regular basis for as long as any piece of music. I’m still trying to figure out what’s appropriate to say about it. (I’ve also known for a long time a live version of it, relatively similar to this one, but even wilder.)
I will say that I’m given to music that goes to the edge of the divine. I emphasize “edge.” The medieval mystic Abu Hamid al-Ghazali says that one truly acquainted with the experience of God will say of it:
There was what was of what I do not mention;
So think well of it, and ask for now account.
Let me just say this. I think that a big part of what makes A Love Supreme work is Coltrane’s band, a set of true disciples (forgive me, Lord, but much truer than the disciples of Jesus!, who mostly wander around uncomprehendingly or half-comprehendingly!); they question, support, urge on, call back, and deepen everything Trane does. It’s galling that McCoy Tyner’s solo is cut off here. What is there is astounding.