I won’t pretend to know a ton about jazz. Like many a listener, I don’t always know what’s going on, but I do know what I like. John Coltrane’s seminal A Love Supreme is a perfect example of this. I started listening to jazz around the time I started studying Buddhism. (What can I say, I was faking my way through graduate school and being a beatnik.) My first time playing the disc was after waking up early to read Zen koans, hopping in the car the car, and driving two hours in the rain to take karate class.
Maybe I was spiritually switched on that day, or maybe I was just overtired, but I think the emotion I felt–and still feel–when I heard the gong and opening fanfare through ego-shredding solos to the final notes of “Psalm” really moved me. It was the first time I’d cried since childhood. I had never felt so free, and anytime I get stuck in my own “selfness” I reach for this album. If you’ve never listened to it, I suggest you give it a try!
Anyway, here’s a great NPR story on the record. Take a minute to read it for some great insight into what makes it so great.