Chart Peak: 14
It seems quite a while ago now, but we've already had one jazz legend on Now 12 in the form of Miles Davis and his solo on the Scritti Politti track. As the record spins to a close we have another one, as this track is of course based on the famous John Coltrane album. Well, I say "of course" - unsurprisingly I had no inkling at all of this at the time, and approached this as just a smooth soul record like many others of the time. And on that level it's a clear success, with Arthur Baker's production giving it a contemporary sheen and seamlessly incorporating elements of what I presume is Coltrane's original sax playing. The lyric also manages to be neatly ambiguous, phrasing an expression of religious devotion in terms that could also be interpreted as romantic.
Of course, part of Baker's and Alice Coltrane's motivation in doing this was to encourage a younger or less jazz-oriented audience to listen to the original album, and only 22 years later I've finally done so; of course it's a much simpler business than it used to be. Never mind trying to find somebody who already owned it and would lend it to me, or - gasp - spending money, I could just fire up my We7 account and there it was, though I did have to tolerate a few adverts. I was slightly surprised that the refrain of "A love supreme" that forms the chorus of this track is actually sung (or at least chanted) during the first movement of the original. Otherwise they're not really all that similar.
Still, this is a decent record in its own right and makes for a solid finale to an album that's been relatively free of head-in-hands moments for me. It's had its duffers and its makeweights, but the standard generally is more consistent than on most of the ones I've written about before and a lot better than Now 40. It's going to be a relatively tough act for the next one to follow when we return.
Having mentioned the We7 account earlier, I've developed such a compulsion for it that I couldn't resist a little experiment. So I've managed to compile a playlist of most of Now 12 I'm only five tracks short, all from the second disc. And at least one of them so bad it's almost a public service not to have it.
Available on: A Love Supreme - The Collection
Charting 1997: 27th December
11 months ago