….is a question I’ve never asked, nor did I think I’d want to see something like that. Ya know what though? It’s 2020 and all bets are off about literally everything. What you have here is just that — an electric interpretation of John Coltrane’s A LOVE SUPREME and it’s unofficial sequel, MEDITATIONS.
Here’s the thing — A LOVE SUPREME is one of my all time favorite albums and probably the one record, more than any other that properly introduced me to actual real jazz. Before hearing the Coltrane masterpiece, I looked at jazz as a punchline to a joke. I was a teenager, so all I knew was the smooth jazz they’d play at the dentist’s office, scatting cartoon beatniks and something old people listen to. A much wiser person than I — the clerk at Dr Wax records in Evanston Illinois was talking to another to another customer about jazz and I was eavesdropping on the conversation. I couldn’t wrap my head around this longhair wearing some obscuro indie band shirt talking intelligently about jazz as if it was something you speak of in serious, hushed tones. The conversation kept going back to Coltrane and I made metal note.
I didn’t buy any Coltrane that day, because that would have been a poser move. Instead, I asked friends at school what they knew of John Coltrane. Most of them were like “is that the dude from that one hardcore band?” But one of my friends — one of the most musically educated sixteen year olds to ever live — said “yeah, A LOVE SUPREME is what you want.” So I did just that. I made a run for Rolling Stones Records in Norridge IL later that day and bought the album on CD. It didn’t click — like at all. It was one of those “what the fuck am I listening to” moments, but it was a primer for what was to come for me. I persisted with the album — listening to it everyday before bed until it finally clicked. Once it did, I was sold on jazz. This is pretty much where my journey into experimental, jazz and psychedelic music actually begins. A long hair and a sixteen year old metal head telling me what time it was.
Now that we’ve established that I *love* Coltrane’s album, lets dig into this.
This is Mike Watt of Minutemen/Firehose/all-around-bass-bad-assery fame; composer and saxophonist Vinny Golia; Chicagoan and band leader of the John Hanrahan Quartet — John Hanrahan on drums; guitarist Henry Kaiser who has worked with everyone from Fred Frith to Weasel Walter and lastly but not leastly, Wayne Peet on piano, who has worked extensively on the west coast, working most recognizably with Alex and Nels Cline.
Knowing the personnel should give you at least a little bit of an idea of what you’re getting into here. The recording itself is clean and sits somewhere between jazz and rock production and manages to illicit emotions — maybe not the same emotions Coltrane’s but emotions none the less. I need to pick up the physical release of this soon. It’s excellent and I recommend checkin’ it out.