Sometime in late 1964, John Coltrane locked himself in the spare upstairs bedroom of his Long Island home. Armed with a tenor saxophone, pen, and paper, he emerged from the self-imposed hibernation "like Moses coming down the mountain," recounted his wife, Alice. The end result? A Love Supreme, an instant benchmark in every discussion on the greatest jazz albums of all time.
Only one live performance of the record was ever released to the public, recorded in France in the summer of 1965. That is, until last week, when Impulse! Records released A Love Supreme: Live in Seattle, recorded in the prolific, though long-defunct Penthouse jazz club (now, unsurprisingly, a parking garage). The 75-minute performance features Coltrane's original quartet, alongside an extra bassist and two more saxophonists, and a bevy of solos throughout.
This release is not the jazz legend's first connection to Seattle. In 1971, Impulse! Records released a different 1965 performance at the Penthouse, simply titled Live in Seattle (confusing, I know). But after over half a century, a newly unearthed recording of the seminal A Love Supreme, a record that Coltrane rarely returned to after its release, carries a different weight.
The long-underrated Seattle jazz scene has delivered yet again, and helped produce one of 2021's most important archival releases.