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Straight No Chaser - A Jazz Show

Welcome to Straight No Chaser, the Award-winning Podcast hosted by Jeffrey Siegel

Dec 8, 2014

With the possible exception of Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, no jazz album has found its way into non-jazz fans’ record collections over the years more than John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme. Recorded fifty years ago this week in Rudy Van Gelder’s Studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, two days of recording resulted in another seismic shift in the world of jazz.

Ashley Kahn is uniquely qualified to tell the story of those sessions, including the events leading up to, and aftermath of, the recording. A music historian, journalist, road manager and producer, he serves as an adjunct professor at New York University, teaching various courses for the Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music in NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, and at 92nd Street Y in Manhattan. His most critically acclaimed books have been the Davis and Coltrane classics. A Love Supreme: The Story of John Coltrane's Signature Album is a volume worthy of its subject, as Kahn takes us on a tour of the months leading up to, and the recording of, the album that continues to have a powerful impact to this day.

A Love Supreme is based, at least in part, on the poem that Coltrane wrote, and barely quotes form on the album. Here it is, in case the liner notes escape you:

I will do all I can to be worthy of Thee, O Lord.
It all has to do with it.
Thank You God.
There is none other.
God is. It is so beautiful.
Thank You God. God is all.
Help us to resolve our fears and weaknesses.
In you all things are possible.
Thank you God.
We know. God made us so.
Keep your eye on God.
God is. He always was. He always will be.
No matter what... it is God.
He is gracious and merciful.
It is most important that I know Thee.
Words, sounds, speech, men, memory, thoughts,
fears and emotions--time--all related...
all made from one... all made in one.
Blessed be his name.
Thought waves--heat waves--all vibrations--
all paths lead to God. Thank you God.
His way... it is so lovely... it is gracious.
It is merciful--Thank you God.
One thought can produce millions of vibrations
and they all go back to God... everything does.
Thank you God.
Have no fear... believe... Thank you God.
The universe has many wonders. God is all.
His way... it is so wonderful.
all go back to God and He cleanses all.
He is gracious and merciful... Thank you God.
Glory to God... God is so alive.
God is.
God loves.
May I be acceptable in Thy sight.
We are all one in His grace.
The fact that we do exist is acknowledgement
of Thee, O Lord.
Thank you God.
God will wash away all our tears...
He always has...
He always will.
Seek him everyday. In all ways seek God everyday.
Let us sing all songs to God.
To whom all praise is due... praise God.
No road is an easy one, but they all
go back to God.
With all we share God.
It is all with God.
It is all with Thee.
Obey the Lord.
Blessed is He.
We were all from one thing... the will of God...
Thank you God.
--I have seen ungodly--
none can be greater--none can compare
Thank you God.
He will remake... He always has and He
always will.
It's true--blessed be His name--Thank you God.
God breathes through us so completely...
so gently we hardly feel it... yet,
it is our everything.
Thank you God.
All from God.
Thank you God. Amen.

Podcast 458 is my conversation with Ashley Kahn, with musical selections from the Coltrane canon, including “Aisha” from Olé Coltrane; “Impressions” from The Complete 1961 Village Vanguard Recordings; “Acknowledgement”, the opening movement of the album; and “Welcome” from Kulu Sé Mama, the last recordings he did with his classic quartet of McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison, and Elvin Jones.