Watch John Coltrane Turn His Handwritten Poem Into a Sublime Musical Passage on A Love Supreme

On Vimeo, James Cary describes his video cre­ation:

A few years ago, know­ing I absolute­ly adored the John Coltrane album, “A Love Supreme” my wife gave me this incred­i­ble book by Ash­ley Kahn : “A Love Surpreme/The Sto­ry of John Coltrane’s Sig­na­ture Album.” Read­ing the book, I dis­cov­ered some­thing remark­able: the fourth move­ment, Psalm, was actu­al­ly John Coltrane play­ing the ‘words’ of the poem that was includ­ed in the orig­i­nal lin­er notes. Appar­ent­ly he put the hand­writ­ten poem on the music stand in front of him, and ‘played’ it, as if it were music. I imme­di­ate­ly played the move­ment while read­ing the poem, and the hair stood up on the back of my neck. It was one of the most inspi­ra­tional and spir­i­tu­al moments of my life.
I’ve seen some nice ver­sions of this post­ed on the net, but want­ed to make one using his exact hand­writ­ing. I also want­ed to keep it sim­ple. The music and John’s poem are what’s impor­tant. I hope you enjoy this. I hope this inspires you, no mat­ter what ‘God’ you may believe in.

You can find a tran­script of the poem below the jump. And while we have your atten­tion, we’d also strong­ly encour­age you to explore anoth­er post from our archive: John Coltrane’s Hand­writ­ten Out­line for His Mas­ter­piece A Love Supreme. Housed at the Smithsonian’s Nation­al Muse­um of Amer­i­can His­to­ry, this hand­writ­ten doc­u­ment cap­tures Coltrane’s orig­i­nal sketch for his 33-minute jazz mas­ter­piece. It’s tru­ly a trea­sure of Amer­i­can his­to­ry.

via Ellen McGirt

I will do all I can to be wor­thy of Thee O Lord. 
It all has to do with it. 
Thank you God. 
There is none oth­er. 
God is. It is so beau­ti­ful. 
Thank you God. God is all. 
Help us to resolve our fears and weak­ness­es. 
Thank you God. 
In You all things are pos­si­ble. 
We know. God made us so. 
Keep your eye on God. 
God is. He always was. He always will be. 
No mat­ter what…it is God. 
He is gra­cious and mer­ci­ful. 
It is most impor­tant that I know Thee. 
Words, sounds, speech, men, mem­o­ry, thoughts, 
fears and emo­tions – time – all relat­ed … 
all made from one … all made in one. 
Blessed be His name. 
Thought waves – heat waves-all vibra­tions – 
all paths lead to God. Thank you God. 

His way … it is so love­ly … it is gra­cious. 
It is mer­ci­ful – thank you God. 
One thought can pro­duce mil­lions of vibra­tions 
and they all go back to God … every­thing does. 
Thank you God. 
Have no fear … believe … thank you God. 
The uni­verse has many won­ders. God is all. His way … it is so won­der­ful. 
Thoughts – deeds – vibra­tions, etc. 
They all go back to God and He cleans­es all. 
He is gra­cious and merciful…thank you God. 
Glo­ry to God … God is so alive. 
God is. 
God loves. 
May I be accept­able in Thy sight. 
We are all one in His grace. 
The fact that we do exist is acknowl­edge­ment of Thee O Lord. 
Thank you God. 
God will wash away all our tears … 
He always has … 
He always will. 
Seek Him every­day. In all ways seek God every­day. 
Let us sing all songs to God 
To whom all praise is due … praise God. 
No road is an easy one, but they all 
go back to God. 
With all we share God. 
It is all with God. 
It is all with Thee. 
Obey the Lord. 
Blessed is He. 
We are from one thing … the will of God … thank you God. 
I have seen God – I have seen ungod­ly – 
none can be greater – none can com­pare to God. 
Thank you God. 
He will remake us … He always has and He always will. 
It is true – blessed be His name – thank you God. 
God breathes through us so com­plete­ly … 
so gen­tly we hard­ly feel it … yet, 
it is our every­thing. 
Thank you God. 
All from God. 
Thank you God. Amen. 

JOHN COLTRANE — Decem­ber, 1964 



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Comments (8)
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  • Peter says:

    This is the most beau­ti­ful thing I’ve heard in a long time. The inter­pre­ta­tion of the prayer is tru­ly amaz­ing and stun­ning — what a prayer! So inspi­ra­tional and uplift­ing. Thanks for putting this togeth­er.

  • Randy says:

    This is why nobody wants to see sausage being made. Ruined it. :(

  • bjza says:

    A musi­cian whose work helps an athe­ist monist under­stand the word “tran­scen­den­tal.” Ter­ri­ble poet.

  • Labrcque JP says:

    Inna­ten­due, inspi­rant, prfond, magnifique,…SUPRÊME

  • Cristeen says:

    Fan­tas­tique thank you … Just dis­cov­ered thru a jazz lovers memo­r­i­al and it touched sooooo many… The spir­it of the love cross­es all bar­ri­ers of reli­gios­i­ty .„ just pure grat­i­tude for this life!

  • SaneArtAcademy says:

    There is also this ani­ma­tion of Psalm. Per­haps a bit bet­ter, even though it’s short­er.

  • ZITA CARNO says:

    Incred­i­ble. And so beau­ti­ful. This is noth­ing more or less than a psalm of thanksgiving—nondenominational, non­sec­tar­i­an, uni­ver­sal, some­thing that res­onates with believ­ers and non­be­liev­ers alike. I was read­ing it while lis­ten­ing to that fourth move­ment, and I got goose­bumps from top to bot­tom. And I thought back to a book I had read many moons ago about “The Inno­cent Ambas­sadors” who in their trav­els around the world had met an indi­vid­ual who, like me,conceived of the Almighty as a Great Spirit—not unlike the North Amer­i­can Indians,the Native Amer­i­cans, all part of us as we are all part of it. It is indeed all one. John Coltrane, thank you.

  • Jaana says:

    Yes, beau­ti­ful indeed. The only thing that blocks the flow is refer­ring to god as “he” and “him”.

    God is all. God is God. God is not some great old wise man in the clouds. Nor is he some giant white man with a giant beard. God is all.


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