"The Gospel According to John Coltrane"

NOVEMBER 17, 2018

7:30 PM

Jazz Sermon for Mixed Choir, jazz quartet and celebrant. Featuring James Murphy, tenor saxophone, and Timothy Jones as celebrant. 

Paul English's original composition pays homage to the great jazz saxophonist John Coltrane and his seminal recording "A Love Supreme" in this dramatic work. 

Also on this Concert for Humanity presented by Arts of Tolerance: The United States premiere of Dr. Arthur Gottschalk's brilliant 2015 masterwork, "Requiem for the Living" (Navona Records) for orchestra and choir as well as a world premiere of his new piece, "Litany".


South Main Baptist Church 

4100 South Main St. 

Houston, TX  77002

<PEM - The Story of why I wrote "The Gospel According to John Coltrane"

"A Love Supreme" is, to jazz musicians, one of the very most sacred works in the history of music.  Recorded in 1964, the liner notes are in the form of a prayer as a poem, written by John Coltrane as he re-dedicated his life and his music to God. The music is universally regarded as one of the great classic jazz recordings of all time. 

 The original is an instrumental recording of the quartet: saxophone, piano, bass and drums, with only one line being sung by the musicians themselves, "A Love Supreme". My new work, "The Gospel of John Coltrane, Variations on a Love Supreme", for jazz quartet, mixed choir and celebrant was composed in 2007. It was originally conceived as and is intended to be the sermon part of a worship service and was originally presented as part of a jazz mass at St. Michael and All Angels Church in Lihue, Kaua'i, Hawai'i. It was inspired in great part by the experience of my previous work with the Rev. William Miller, with whom I have now created and presented nine jazz masses. 

 Coltrane's original music is quoted and the complete text is his. Although I have adapted it some, every word is his and every word of his poem is included.  Though almost all the music for choir is original, Coltrane’s themes are quoted by the quartet and, of course, improvisation is an important element of the piece.

                                                  — Paul English