Academic journal article American Studies

BEYOND A LOVE SUPREME: John Coltrane and the Legacy of an Album

Academic journal article American Studies

BEYOND A LOVE SUPREME: John Coltrane and the Legacy of an Album

Article excerpt

BEYOND A LOVE SUPREME: John Coltrane and the Legacy of an Album. By Tony Whyton. New York: Oxford University Press. 2013.

Tony Whyton's Beyond A Love Supreme is an essential book for those interested in current jazz historiography, jazz culture, and African American art. Recorded for Impulse! in 1964, John Coltrane's A Love Supreme is a canonical album in jazz his- tory and is considered one of the great achievements of modern music. The recording embodies Coltrane's interest in spiritual exploration during his later years.

Whyton's carefully researched and insightful study shows how this iconic album has been used in jazz culture, by fans and critics alike, to both challenge and reinforce existing jazz binaries. Whyton argues that these binaries are used to exert ideological control not only over jazz discourse, but of the memory of Coltrane, which has deified his approach to life and music. Coltrane has been canonized to a degree that the undeniable beauty and power of this record makes it impervious to critical observation. Whyton shows how A Love Supreme has been "perceived over time, and how it makes us think about both jazz history . . . and about recordings."

Whyton's sources range from Coltrane's biography, oral histories with musicians, and creative and critical writing about Coltrane. He argues that A Love Supreme is a symbol for all sorts of cultural mythologies and ideological values; these include: improvisation versus composition, black music versus white music, commercial music versus art music, live performance versus studio recording, and pure living versus drug abuse. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.