Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Writing Music: A Love Supreme

Los Angeles, CA

Has it really been 50 years?

John Coltrane is timeless. But you already know that.

This morning's writing music has been A Love Supreme. On repeat. This is one of Coltrane's masterpieces, which he penned in 1964 and recorded exactly 50 years ago today at Van Gelder's home studio in the New Jersey burbs. Coltrane's quartet for that particular session included Elvin Jones on drums, McCoy Tyner on piano and Jim Garrison on bass (who shared a name with the infamous DA in New Orleans).

A Love Supreme was not released until February 1965, but twenty plus years ago Schanzer gave me my first copy when we were in college in Atlanta. He dubbed me a cassette tape. I wore it out and have no idea where it found its final resting place. I finally bought A Love Supreme on CD when I lived in Seattle in the late 90s. I still have that copy somewhere in storage at my mom's apartment.

A Love Supreme is one of those desert island albums. It's something I listen to frequently in various mixes labeled "writing music." When I'm burning daylight and under the gun of a looming deadline, I'll often pop in Coltrane and he'll be blowing away as I stumble toward the finish line.

Heavy rotations of Coltrane are sprinkled throughout different junctures over the last two decades... road trips, self-pity trips, cocktail parties, writing assignments, wandering streets of London or Amsterdam or driving through bat country from LA to Vegas. Coltrane penned a universal soundtrack that marked many highlights and pulled me out of the doldrums during the lowest of the lowlights.

100 years from now, people will still be listening to Coltrane's music. He achieved immortality. That makes me feel like there is a glimmer of hope in this bleak world. Art is timeless. Amazing music that tickles the soul is universal. Coltrane's inspiration transcends time and space.

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