Tributee: John Coltrane.
Personnel: Branford Marsalis (saxophone); Joey Calderazzo (piano); Jeff "Tain" Watts (drums).
Recording information: The Bimhuis, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (03/30/2003).
Photographer: Paul Berger.
John Coltrane's A Love Supreme was a groundbreaking suite that served as a high-water mark of the prolific tenor saxophonist's career. Jazz musicians and listeners alike have been drawn to it, though relatively few recordings have been made of it, possibly to avoid comparisons with the composer's landmark version. Fortunately, Branford Marsalis and his band, including pianist Joey Calderazzo, bassist Eric Revis, and drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts learned the piece intimately and created their own approach to it, performing it live at the Bimhuis Jazz Club in Amsterdam, with video and audio tape rolling. Their nearly 49-minute version builds upon Coltrane's creation without resorting to merely cloning the styles of Coltrane's musicians. The camera work, audio, and editing are first-rate throughout the performance, while the quartet successfully puts their own stamp on Coltrane's most famous work. Following the performance (other selections were performed but evidently not videotaped or recorded), there are a number of interview segments. Branford discusses A Love Supreme with Alice Coltrane, while journalist Bob Blumenthal talks with each member of the band regarding the piece, along with Michael Brecker, Miguel Zenón, David Sanchez, and Ned Goold. Among the remarkable revelations that Branford shares is his discovery that A Love Supreme was likely inspired in part by some riffs in a part of a '40s symphonic work by Morton Gould. The complete live version of A Love Supreme is also included on a bonus CD. ~ Ken Dryden