Ok. I have one last offering on the subject of the fall and its spiritual essence. I wanted to share with you one of my most spiritual possessions, John Coltrane’s incredible album,“A Love Supreme”.
It would not be an overstatement to say that John Coltrane is one of the most important and influential jazz artists of all time. By the time he recorded this album in 1964, he had already had a very accomplished career, both as a sideman for Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk, and as the leader of his own quartets. But as gifted and talented as he was, Coltrane also battled heroin and alcohol addictions. After a near fatal overdose in 1957, he surrendered himself to god and began using his gift to inspire and uplift himself and others. This album is seeen not only as his pinnacle musical acheivement, but also as his ultimate spiritual accomplishment.
In the liner notes to this album, John Coltrane wrote, “This album is a humble offering to Him. An attempt to say ‘THANK YOU GOD’ through our work, even as we do in our hearts and with our tongues. May He help and strengthen all men in every good endeavor.”
So spiritual is this album that in 1971, The Saint John Coltrane African Orthodox Church was founded and exists today in San Francisco.
There is nothing but gratitude and praise in this album. It is a musical voice that, for some, may be hard to hear or difficult to discerm the spirituality within. Yet, like any complex art form, when you simply allow it to wash over you and sink in, you can feel and even understand its transcendent beauty.
I listen to A Love Supreme when I am sad, to help lift me back up. I play it when I am happy to help me stay grounded. I play it to lose myself in my own thoughts. I play it to lose myself in the music.
At some point around the making of A Love Supreme, John Coltrane said this: “My goal is to live the truly religious life, and express it in my music. If you live it, when you play there’s no problem because the music is part of the whole thing. To be a musician is really something. It goes very, very deep. My music is the spiritual expression of what I am – my faith, my knowledge, my being.”
No where does he express this message so eloquently as with A Love Supreme.