Friday February 07, 2014
A Love Supreme: God in the Music of John Coltrane
This week on Tapestry, we explore the music and spirituality of the jazz great John Coltrane. To some jazz fans, he was the high priest of the avant-garde movement. And to others, tenor saxophonist John Coltrane was a saint.
For more on the show and our guest...
Winnipeg's Reverend Jamie Howison wrote a book about the music and theology of John Coltrane. It's called God's Mind in that Music: Theological Explorations through the Music of John Coltrane.
When Rev. Howison puts on a John Coltrane record, he braces for something pretty profound: "It's kind of like eavesdropping on someone praying, frankly."
The musician Carlos Santana used to have a ritual. He'd play a John Coltrane album at four in the morning, as a kind of meditation. In Santana's words: "I could hear God's mind in that music ... I heard the Supreme One playing music through John Coltrane's mind." Carlos Santana wasn't the first to make the connection between theology and saxophone. Coltrane's music led one reviewer to say "I'm agnostic - and yet, John Coltrane's masterpiece, A Love Supreme, has almost made me see God."
In this episode, Rev. Jamie Howison takes Mary Hynes for a tour through the music and soul of John Coltrane.
Here are the recordings featured in this programme:
Spiritual from the album Live at the Village Vanguard
Ascension (Part II) from Ascension
Pt. 1: Acknowledgement; Pt. 2: Resolution; Pt. 4: Psalm from A Love Supreme
The Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost from Meditations
Alabama from Live at Birdland
Misterioso from Live at Iridium, New York
Crescent, Lonnie's Lament and Wise One from Crescent
Naima from Giant Steps