John Coltrane - “Part 1. Acknowledgement”
from A Love Supreme
I don’t particularly care for Trane, but I am led to understand that some people do, hence today’s selection.
My opinion on Trane isn’t guided by a desire to be countercultural or anything. I dislike him for much the same reasons I don’t care for Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, or even sometimes Art Tatum — the goal of the music obscures the music itself. In Tatum’s case, technical skill does the same thing, as with Coltrane. I once read an opinion (a rare critical one that I can no longer find a link to despite having an exact quote at hand) that Coltrane’s compositions aren’t as much “compositions” as they are a structure to support improvisation and sheets of sound. Which is fine, and certainly influential. It’s just not much my taste.
The more maddening thing is that I know I am capable of enjoying Trane in the right setting. Take Kind of Blue, for example. His blustery style fits right in with “Freddie Freeloader,” and as much as I tend to rag on him, one of my favorite parts of the whole album is in this tune, at the transition between Miles’s solo and his. In both “Blue in Green” and “Flamenco Sketches,” he displays such an unbelievably delicate touch that you might think it was a different musician altogether. But that’s another album.
Anyway. A Love Supreme. I plugged Ashley Khan’s Kind of Blue book when I wrote about “So What,” so perhaps you would like to know he has written one about A Love Supreme as well.