The Jazz Theologian

The Jazz Theologian

Coltrane Stations (part 6)


I’m not a lover of Coltrane’s music; truthfully, I find it a bit annoying .  So why do I find myself listening to it all the time?  Specifically his signature album, A Love Supreme.  Recorded in 1964, seven years after he heard "The sound," Coltrane teaches us something about how we can keep pursuing God for a lifetime.  What do you do when you have experienced God and the yearning remains to experience him again?  Coltrane developed his own set of spiritual stages to sustain him to the end.


A Love Supreme is more than a musical album it is a series of stages for one’s spiritual life.  The album is separated into four stages and each song is meant to represent a season of the soul. 

Coltrane’s stations are as follows…

  • Acknowledgment
  • Resolution
  • Pursuance
  • Psalm

Coltrane had set a spiritual goal:  To become a Psalm.  Working backwards from that end he had thought through what stages were necessary for that to happen.  Ultimately, what was driving him is captured in the title of the album…A Love Supreme.  That is all he wanted and all he wanted to be.

What do you think of Coltrane’s stations?  Do they ring true in your pursuit of A LOVE SUPREME?

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Pete Gall

posted January 16, 2006 at 7:37 am

I like these labels. I’m pretty convinced that the true successes in our lives are not based in what we achieve, but in what we admit. Acknowledgment feels right. Followed by doubt that begs a covenant, and Resolution says in the light of day what Acknowledgement admits in the dark of night. I’m glad he chose Pursuance and didn’t say which party is doing the pursuing – you know the Spirit danced with Coltrane as he sought to hear that note again, and that there is something delightful about the ache to be rejoined that spins us in wonderful, life-giving ways as we pursue and are pursued. And when we touch it, or even as we notice the dance, there is Psalm. For that matter, when we search and are broken in our searching – when the frustration at not being able to recapture that note rises up and we like fools for the chase – there is Psalm. It is more than understanding. It is living. It involves listening and responding, practicing life with a sort of stragetic approach to dance with the Spirit better. It calls out, doesn’t just check off. It improvises. You should start a blog about this.
Related to this – I hope – I have a question for you, JT. What have moments of confession/repentence for the sake of reconciliation felt like to you as the one receiving the apology? Does it mean anything to you, or is it really about the person on the other side? Is there a head-level answer already inside you that defends itself against what could be a heart-level experience… where a heart-level experience and an admission of pain somehow gives the power back to the person who’s been part of the problem? What has the experience of an apology that goes beyond an individual dynamic felt like?

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