Thursday, December 10, 2020

A Love Supreme Electric - A Love Supreme and Meditations (Cuneiform Records, 2020)

In the early 2000’s guitarist Henry Kaiser was in a fascinating band called Yo Miles that revived the great music that Miles Davis made in the early 1970’s. This group brings the same electrified approach to two of John Coltrane’s most famous jazz suites: A Love Supreme and Meditations. In addition to Kaiser, the band consists of Vinny Golia on tenor, soprano and baritone saxophones, John Hanrahan on drums, Wayne Peet on Hammond B3 and Yamaha YC-45D organs and Mike Watt on bass. The group offers up generous readings of both suites, maintaining both a reverential and deconstructionist mode, beginning with “Acknowledgement” from A Love Supreme where the memorable theme and chanting of the title are retained, but the soaring use of electric guitar and bass take us to another plane entirely, leading into the meditative nature of “Resolution” which is anchored by excellent bass playing. Golia plays some extraordinary tenor saxophone on “Resolution,” developing a churning and dynamic feature statement, urged on by scouring electric guitar and drums, creating an early high point for the album. A brief and graceful performance of the closing track “Psalm” is well performed, built from a humble beginning to a soaring full band conclusion. The Meditations suite is when John Coltrane turned to full force free jazz with a new lineup and seemingly a new mission. This band captures that urgency and the frenetic pace of the source material, allowing the organ to develop a droning sound, which adds further texture and dynamics to the opening track “The Father, The Son and the Holy Ghost” as guitar meets squalls of saxophone and kinetic drumming to push the music forward. The organ and guitar are reminiscent of Coltrane influenced progressive fusion like Love Devotion Surrender and Love Cry Want, as the music moves into the more dynamic sections of “Joy” and particularly the sprawling exciting performance of “Consequences” and the hard won beauty of the “Serenity” finale. The band was really dialed into this, including reprise versions of “The Father, The Son and the Holy Ghost” and “Acknowledgement” which shows the they see the wealth of possibilities in Coltrane’s music, developing variations of their main performances that take the music in even further unforeseen directions. This album worked very well, the musicians clearly revere the music that John Coltrane created, but they are willing to make their own path and use their instrumentation to create a unique statement. A Love Supreme and Meditations - amazon.com

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