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February 12, 2015

A Love Supreme Playlist


This post is a part of a series of playlists curated by UMS staff, artists, and community. Check out more music here.

We’ve been working with WCBN, the University of Michigan student-run community free-form radio station, to feature playlists from their DJs on UMS Lobby. WCBN broadcasts at 200 watts to the University and its surrounding communities from the Basement of the Student Activities Building in downtown tree-town. Check out their website or Facebook page to learn more!

Veteran DJ Richard Wallace, virtual musical encyclopedia arwulf arwulf and recent UM Music School grad Kirsten Carey have created this playlist to celebrate John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme which turns 50 this year. The Campbell Brothers perform A Love Supreme on Friday, February 20, 2015, 8:00 pm at Michigan Theater.

Selections 1-10 consist of albums released in 1964 and 1965 to give a context to the shifting jazz culture which both gave birth to and was advanced by A Love Supreme. The mid sixties were a watershed point in jazz history: among a certain faction of the jazz community, freer improvisational structures were gaining ground as heads were becoming simpler, more melodic, and harmonically loose. These open structures allowed bebop vocabulary to be completely decontextualized and performers to reduce their improvisations into pure emotional sound. Never before had jazz incorporated so much sonic freedom – and, of course, a visionary like Coltrane saw the opportunities this shift heralded. Kirsten Carey

John Coltrane’s musicality and spirituality underwent profound transformation in 1957. If at that time Thelonious Monk ushered Trane through a creative threshold, the saxophonist’s progress was accelerated through complete abstinence from alcohol and narcotics. Anchored by a marrows-deep personal relationship with religion – the enzyme of survival for generations of African Americans living in a hostile and indifferent environment – Coltrane’s astonishing evolution brought him into solidarity and alignment with artists who actively pursued a collective course that transcended conventionally accepted notions or standards of entertainment. The list that we provide here represents a glimpse of what is condoned and encouraged among students and volunteers in line with WCBN‘s enduring artistic and educational mission. – arwulf arwulf