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PLAYLIST NEW ALBUM RELEASES `SUPREME' RENDITION.

Byline: Fred Shuster Music Writer

JOHN COLTRANE: ``A Love Supreme (Deluxe Edition)'' (Impulse!/Universal)

Few albums in popular music have endured like John Coltrane's ``A Love Supreme.'' The 1964 recording elevated jazz into the realm of spiritual exploration.

While the music initially seemed strange to jazz purists, it captivated adventurous listeners and '60s rock bands, including the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream, the Grateful Dead and the Byrds.

Coltrane's four-part suite for quartet unfolds with escalating intensity, fueled by urgent speechlike tenor sax emissions and the brilliant polyrhythms of drummer Elvin Jones.

``A Love Supreme (Deluxe Edition)'' is a two-disc reissue struck from recently discovered master tapes. The second disc features the late Coltrane's oft-bootlegged sole live rendering of the suite in 1965 in Antibes along with a long-rumored sextet version of the track ``Acknowledgment,'' featuring free-form tenor saxophonist Archie Shepp and bassist Art Davis.

To find out what makes this one of music's most supremely elegant creations, we reached writer Ashley Kahn, author of the just-issued ``A Love Supreme: The Story of John Coltrane's Signature Album'' (visit alovesupremethebook.com) and 2000's equally enjoyable ``Kind of Blue: The Making of the Miles Davis Masterpiece.''

Q: What does this package reveal about ``A Love Supreme''?

The alternate takes show Coltrane was always experimenting. Nothing was set in stone. It's hard to figure out what was improvised and what was part of the composition. To many ears, ``A Love Supreme'' is this peak of perfection of musical inspiration, and yet Coltrane goes into the studio the next day and performs it as a sextet, throwing in a wild card in the person of Archie Shepp. He was willing to take the chance of tearing down the structure he had so carefully devised. It was sort of like Beethoven creating his Fifth Symphony, performing it and the next day bringing in less studied improvisatory soloists to play it.

Q: There really hasn't been a book about Coltrane until yours that gets to the human being behind the music.

I wasn't going to put him on a pedestal and say, ``Look.'' You don't need to canonize the guy. Coltrane has been written about in two ways - academically or in this ``Spirit Catcher'' way. I wanted to reach the people who bought a biography of John Adams and made it a best seller. This is the story of a guy coming up in North Carolina, becoming a journeyman blues player and saying, ``I think this music can be used to reach the heavens and express the unexpressible.'' You don't have to be a jazz fanatic to get the story.

Q: I understand your research led to this two-disc reissue.

We found the masters of the original tapes in London at Abbey Road Studios' tape library, where they'd been sent in the '60s due to a licensing arrangement with EMI. Since 1971, pressings were copied from less- than-pristine dubs of a compressed master. Now we can hear some amazing details like the cymbals and the openness of the sound.

CHECK THESE OUT (other new releases):

DJANGO REINHARDT, ``Djangology'': The 1949 reunion of the Gypsy jazz guitar great and longtime musical partner, French violinist Stephane Grappelli.

LONNIE LISTON SMITH, ``Astral Traveling'': Keyboardist Smith's debut as a leader was originally issued 30 years ago, but his celestial jazz-funk sound still holds up.

COUNT BASIE, ``Kansas City Powerhouse'': Hard-swinging blues from the '30s featuring the classics ``Moten Swing,'' ``One O'Clock Boogie'' and ``Seventh Avenue Express.''

Next Tuesday: VARIOUS: ``When the Sun Goes Down: The Secret History of Rock & Roll''

CAPTION(S):

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Photo:

(1) no caption (John Coltrane)

(2 -- 4) no caption (CD covers)
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Dec 17, 2002
Words:605
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