Godhead and ego-loss seem so near at hand that even jaded or rockophile listeners will shiver with fear and longing whenever this disc gets played. Perhaps the first concept album in jazz record history, A Love Supreme will serve future ages as a monument to Coltrane's terrifying achievement. Phased through interludes of suffering, anger, knowledge and peace, these 40 minutes finally stand outside of time. The suite's unfolding not only codifies Coltrane's post-bop revolution in phrasing - swinging down and backwards behind the beat instead of nuzzling inside it - but also adds to jazz grammar a newer idiom of sweet tone poems suspended over tempo. Enshrined with Trane, too, is the rest of the legendary Quartet - McCoy Tyner, Elvin Jones, Jimmy Garrison - a visionary company whose example may well end up immobilizing jazz by its overweening challenge to all musicians who aspire to like divinitude.
Originally published in Crawdaddy, March, 1976