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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