Enlightenment: A re-enivisioning of John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme, Queen Elizabeth Hall, 22-06-14
One of the classic quartet recordings of all time by the most classic quartet of all time, Coltrane’s ‘64 crew with Elvin Jones, Jimmy Garrison & McCoy Tyner, refigured for fifteen musicians. An intriguing prospect isn’t it?
It was, and I guess we knew there might be a bit of a spiritual impulse, there should be, really. But 20 minutes of new age throat-clearing with praise-the-lord platitudes was too much; then it launched into some actually pretty good jazz - the structural and melodic extrapolations of the original were enough to be interesting but not unrecognizable, and the players did play the shit out of it, to be fair - and then another twenty minutes of wind-down and new age God-bothering during which the more intelligent punters left.
We present for you the good middle bit. You’ll recognize all the elements, but might be surprised at how they’re developed. Good decisions have been made; you can’t hope to compete with Trane’s perfectly realized variations, so a chop n screw job seems the only sane option.
We had a bit of chat about this project and wondered why the PRS (who funded this) and other bodies seem to privilege funding what are arguably nostalgia vehicles rather than investing in new work for the future. To be fair, the history of jazz is one of incredible musicians tearing holes in older material, so this seems to fit into that - though the point is definitely taken.
Let’s have some new cliches, hey?
Enlightenment Ensemble: Ansuman Biswas, Tunde Jegende, Age Egun Crispin Robinson, Dave Pattman, Oli Savill, Juwon Ogungbe, Cleveland Watkiss, Nikki Yeoh, Orphy Robinson, Neil Charles, Pat Thomas, Rowland Sutherland, Mark Mondesir, Steve Williamson, Shabaka Hutchings