John Coltrane and his classic quartet (Elvin Jones, Jimmy Garrison and McCoy Tyner) went into the legendary Van Gelder Studio in New Jersey on 9 December 1964 and recorded A Love Supreme–the four-part suite that has influenced musicians and reached generations of fans far beyond the jazz world.
What’s less known is the fact that Coltrane, his classic quartet and two additional musicians–the legendary saxophonist Archie Shepp and second bassist, Dr. Art Davis–returned to the studio the next day to cut the opening part of the suite again. Until last year, the complete picture of what happened on those two days, including all takes, overdubs, and even studio chatter, was unavailable.
A Love Supreme: The Complete Masters, was released in November 2015 to celebrate this seminal recording. It includes the alternate version, taken from reels from the personal collection of John Coltrane and originally recorded in incredible sonic detail by Rudy Van Gelder, along with revised notes and detailed information on these amazing lost sessions.
With the availability of long-lost session reels, A Love Supreme: The Complete Masters brought together all existing recordings and written outlines for the first time to paint the most comprehensive and accurate picture of the A Love Supreme story. It reveals how Coltrane’s masterpiece came together, from its initial conception as a nine-piece performance–it turns out the original plan was for a nine-piece band, including three Latin percussionists–to how it changed and developed in the studio. While the 2002 edition of A Love Supreme did include some of the music recorded at the second session, The Complete Masters features all six takes of “Acknowledgement,” the opening section of the suite, in their entirety, providing a deeper understanding and appreciation of how Coltrane allowed music to mature in the studio. The box set also presents takes one and two of the track “Acknowledgement” from the sextet sessions in stereo for the first time.
A Love Supreme: The Complete Masters is available in two formats: a 2-CD set, including the original best-selling album, along with unreleased mono “reference” versions of two tracks, owned by Coltrane himself, and seven unreleased performances from the two sessions. A 32-page booklet features an extensive essay by Ashley Kahn, noted producer, instructor and author of A Love Supreme: The Story of John Coltrane’s Signature Album, rare photographs from the sessions and all of Coltrane’s surviving musical sketches and written elements for the groundbreaking, four-part suite, including the words that would become the poem, “A Love Supreme.”
A 3-CD “Super Deluxe Edition” includes what is currently the only documented live recording of the album, a spirited, impromptu performance from the Festival Mondial du Jazz Antibes in July 1965, which had been previously available on a 2002 edition of the album. This 3-CD set is presented in a larger format that includes additional information about the live material and a personal introduction by Carlos Santana.
A Love Supreme was Coltrane’s most pre-conceived, meticulously planned musical recording: “This is the first time I have everything ready,” he famously told his wife Alice after composing the suite in their Long Island home. It was also his most successful, a high-water mark in Coltrane’s career and popularity in 1965-generating two GRAMMY® Award-nominations, and earning him top position in various polls that year. That A Love Supreme remains a permanent fixture in lists of Greatest and Most Important musical recordings of the modern era–Rolling Stone magazine places it at No. 47 in its “500 Greatest Albums Of All Time”–speaks to the enduring significance of Coltrane’s music and his message of spirituality.
The Original Stereo Album, Impulse! AS-77
Part I – Acknowledgement
Part II – Resolution
Part III – Pursuance
Part IV – Psalm
Trane’s Original Mono Reference Masters
Park III – Pursuance MONO REF
Part IV – Psalm MONO REF
Quartet Session: December 9, 1964
Part I – Acknowledgement VOCAL OVERDUB 2
Part I – Acknowledgement VOCAL OVERDUB 3
Part II – Resolution Alternative Take 4 44-192
Park II – Resolution Alternative Take 6 44-192
Park IV – Psalm UNDUBBED VERSION
Sextet Session: December 10, 1964
Part I – Acknowledgement TAKE 1 ALTERNATE
Part I – Acknowledgement TAKE 2 ALTERNATE
Part I – Acknowledgement TAKE 3 ALTERNATE
Part I – Acknowledgement TAKE 4 ALTERNATE
Part I – Acknowledgement TAKE 5 ALTERNATE
Part I – Acknowledgement TAKE 6 ALTERNATE
Live At Festival Mondial du Jazz Antibes, July 26, 1965
Part I – Acknowledgement (Live)
Part 2 – Resolution (Live)
Part 3 – Pursuance (Live)
Part 4 – Psalm (Live)