Branford Marsalis – John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme (Marsalis Music)
It has been about two years since Branford’s quartet released the incredible Footsteps of Our Fathers, arguably his finest recording. On it was a good portion of “A Love Supreme” done in remarkably sensitive and faithful reproduction of Coltrane’s likely intent four decades before. After a recent CD of gorgeous ballads (Eternal) comes this astonishing DVD/CD combo plate recorded live in Amsterdam in 2003, but just released. It makes the hair on your neck stand up and your pulse race. There is a definite enhancement of the experience gained by watching the band in action especially through the more frenetic passages of this greatest of jazz compositions.
The band features regulars Joey Calderazzo on piano burning as usual, Eric Revis on bass, and the locomotive, Jeff “Tain” Watts, working extremely hard throughout. Elvin worked just as hard, but it looked easier for him. This is so good that it serves as a companion piece for Trane’s own recording. A Love Supreme, of course, is a four-part suite about redemption; a work of pure spirituality that characterized the composer. It encapsulates all the struggles and aspirations of the 60s. This music is not dated; it is intense and relentless reflecting honorably one of the most important pieces of music of the 20th century. Branford can be very proud of this product.