A newly discovered private recording of a rare John Coltrane performance of his acclaimed album A Love Supreme will be released later this year by Impulse Records.
Recorded on Oct. 2, 1965, at the end of a weeklong residence at The Penthouse in Seattle, it’s a historically significant recording that captures the legendary saxophonist kicking off the final phase of his career backed by his classic quartet — McCoy Tyner, Elvin Jones and Jimmy Garrison — as well as Pharaoh Sanders in his first official gig as part of the group.
A Love Supreme: Live in Seattle is particularly notable because Coltrane rarely performed his four-part magnum opus in full after he recorded it in 1964. The studio album was a bestseller and was nominated for a Grammy Award. For more than six decades, the only known recorded public performance of A Love Supreme was from a French festival at Juan-Les-Pains in July of 1965, released nearly 20 years ago.
This live set from Seattle was captured by saxophonist and educator Joe Brazil, using a two-microphone stage setup connected to an Ampex reel-to-reel machine. It was restored and mastered by Kevin Reeves at East Iris Studios in Nashville.
“What’s remarkable is that tapes from this era often suffer over the years from heat or moisture damage, or simply being stacked horizontally,” Reeves said in a press release. “However, these tapes are in excellent condition, and the results are among the best amateur recordings of John Coltrane we’ve had the pleasure to work on.”
A Love Supreme: Live in Seattle features liner notes written by music historian Ashley Kahn. The album “offers the first evidence of the master of spiritual expression performing his signature work in the close confines of a jazz club,” Kahn writes. “On October 2, 1965, a Saturday, in Seattle, the necessary elements were in alignment: music, players, venue, a spirit of connection, a certain political charge. Coltrane chose to perform it, and significantly, the moment was recorded.”
Listen to a preview of the recording below.