I listened to today’s song while speedwalking back from the office to my apartment, trying to make it home before I got caught in a massive downpour like I did yesterday. In a way, the moody “Psalm,” the closing track from saxophonist John Coltrane’s 1965 classic A Love Supreme, mirrored the Pittsburgh weather. Elvin Jones’s booming timpani rolls and dramatic cymbal flourishes gave voice to the menacing storm clouds gathering overheard, while McCoy Tyner’s jabbing piano chords splashed like the drops of rain that did in fact start to fall on my umbrella-less head about a half-mile away from my building. Coltrane’s playing on “Psalm” is slightly more restrained than on the album’s other tracks, opting for what’s been described as a sermon-through-sax as opposed to a dizzying squall of overblown notes (and I mean “overblown” in the purposeful and technical sense, not as an insult). Because the song is modal as opposed to tonal (meaning that it’s not designed to resolve on a single note or chord like most pop songs are), it feels like a massive, brewing cloud that could expand infinitely into the universe. I didn’t get rained on as hard today, though, so I’m going to thank the spirit of John Coltrane for that.
Listen to more John Coltrane: https://open.spotify.com/artist/2hGh5VOeeqimQFxqXvfCUf