Today’s video is John Coltrane’s Psalm, from the album, A Love Supreme, written and recorded several years after he got clean and sober in the late fifties. His score for the song, such as it was, was a prayer of gratitude for the great gift he had been given, nothing less than his life, which he had written out by hand and had put on the music stand for the recording. He then “played” the words of the poem in this song. This video has the original poem scrolling as the music plays. I invite you to start your Sunday in contemplation of this gentle offering by Coltrane.
One of the great redemptive post-heroin jazz albums in the history of redemptive post-heroin jazz albums, A Love Supreme was recorded the same way it was composed, and was composed the same way it was conceived: quickly, in the moment’s inspiration. It happened in 1964, seven years after it all turned around for John Coltrane. He went upstairs with nothing but pen, paper, and saxophone, and didn’t come down until five days later. When he did, “It was like Moses coming down from the mountain,” according to his wife, Alice, “it was so beautiful. He walked down and there was that joy, that peace in his face, tranquility. He said, ‘This is the first time that I have received the music for all that I want to record, in a suite. This is the first time I have everything, everything ready.’”
Psalm by John Coltrane