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A Love Supreme

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Format : Score and Parts

Recorded by the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. Arranged by Wynton Marsalis. Jazz, Swing. Score and parts. Published by Jazz Lines Publications (JL.JLP-7420).

Composer/Artist : Wynton Marsalis

Instrumentation :

Big band

Publisher :

Jazz Lines Publications

Level : See all items with the same classification and the same skill level

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Item Number: JL.JLP-7420

Excerpt from the liner notes of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra's CD release of A Love Supreme, as written by Stanley Crouch:

This new version of A Love Supreme is the first example of Wynton Marsalis's intention to bring the music of John Coltrane into the repertoire of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, which inarguably performs the largest repertoire of jazz material in the world, stretching from the work of Jelly Roll Morton to that of Ornette Coleman. "That will give us some challenges," says Marsalis, "and it makes that music new because no one has put it into a big band context, which is another place that it belongs. All great music should be played in as many contexts as possible. That is one of the reasons that we have the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra."

A Love Supreme is, obviously, one of the most influential and revered of jazz recordings. At that point in his career, John Coltrane was immersed in moving from the macro of harmonic complexity to the micro of harmonic simplicity. But his greatest contributions were made in his additions of new ways to address the essentials of jazz: his band had achieved fresh interpretations of 4/4 swing, of ballad materials, of the blues, and of Afro-Latin grooves. Most of his innovations were not in what was written, but in how his band played. His greatest importance and influence came through the extraordinary improvising of a saxophonist, a pianist (McCoy Tyner), a bassist (Jimmy Garrison), and a drummer (Elvin Jones). Coltraneā??s music was in his and his ensemble's playing, and he could not have achieved what he did without musicians of any less originality and intensity than those in what is now called the classic John Coltrane Quartet. "The point of what John Coltrane was doing in A Love Supreme was finding out how much he could do with a very small amount of material. So the challenge of writing for a big band is to figure out how all of that music comes together and how to build upon its fundamental ideas," says Marsalis. "The first thing is that he has a cyclical form, which begins in the universal church and ends in the church of Negro spirituals. The first movement relates to influences from as far away as Japan in the flute parts. It builds on the unity of the minor third and the fourth, which is a kernel of the pentatonic scale that runs through all the music around the world. Coltrane was aware of this, Iā??m sure. The first movement ends with the congregation saying "A Love Supreme" individually from the low baritone saxophone to the piccolo. The clarinet threads this together with the pentatonic scale of each statement, which is in different tonal center. So the clarinet adjusts to each change."

The second and third movements speak for themselves, and each features explosive improvisations from either Wess Anderson or Marsalis, as well as virtuosic heat and authority from the brass and reed sections, all riding on the stoked up groove of Carlos Henriquez and the incomparable Herlin Riley. By the last movement, "We are back in the church." Marsalis chose to build his arrangement on Coltraneā??s solo, which became, as with all the best jazz improvisation, a composition the moment it was released on record. A stunning conclusion is reached as this grand statement is not improved by any means, but enlarged to meet the ambitions and standards of our greatest jazz big band. Nothing can every replace the original, but as this recording proves, even things we think we know all about can be extended into areas beyond our imagination. In essence, that is surely part of the meaning and one of the great satisfactions of jazz.

This work is divided into 4 Movements and lasts approximately 45 mins:
I. Acknowledgment
II. Resolution
III. Pursuance
IV. Psalm

Trumpet 1: C7 Trumpet 2 and 3: F6 Trumpet 4: E6; Trombone 1: Eb5; Trombone 2: Db5; Trombone 3: B4.

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Wynton Marsalis sheet music

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