Lili K., throwback soul/jazz vocalist, songwriter
“A love supreme, a love supreme…” That legendary four-note melody will forever hold a place in my heart … and will of course be stuck in my head while writing this piece. John Coltrane was one of my earliest introductions to the jazz world — I’ve always looked to his music as a reference guide when creating, when studying improvisation. Coltrane is what I listened to while writing papers or taking tests throughout my academic career. He seemed to turn on a switch in my mind.
My early Coltrane listening years were primarily dedicated to Blue Train, but I started listening to A Love Supreme heavily my senior year of high school. I actually bought the album as a gift for my boyfriend at the time … and ended up keeping it for myself. I’m selfish with my Coltrane, what can I say? I immediately felt the spirituality of the album — the listening experience was ridden with the highs and lows of emotion. Even before reading the album’s liner notes, I always interpreted A Love Supreme to be about God — or about whatever higher power of the universe one believes in. The kind of love that embodies gratitude and appreciation, having overcome pain and struggle. Knowing of Coltrane’s battle with heroin — his battle being a black man in America — this message of a “supreme” love becomes even more powerful.
Of the four-part suite, “A Love Supreme Part IV – Psalm” is probably my favorite piece. For some inexplicable reason, this movement reaches me. It gives me goosebumps, it makes me lose myself for a few minutes; it almost always brings me to tears. This closing piece sounds like a final prayer, like the end of the story. Upon reading A Love Supreme‘s liner notes, you see that’s exactly what it is.
To wrap things up: I love me some John Coltrane, and I’m eternally grateful for his existence.