Noriko Satomi brings the passion and vibrancy of jazz violin to an acclaimed jazz composition on her 2019 homage to A Love Supreme, which received a Jazz Japan Award from Jazz Japan magazine in January 2020.
No doubt familiar to most jazz fans, John Coltrane’s 1965 masterpiece sets a high bar for any jazz group, with both rote recitation and musical reinvention being risky propositions. At the same time, re-experiencing the classic performance at live concerts or on newly recorded albums can provide a thrilling way for fellow fans and the performing musicians themselves to appreciate the music together.
“A Love Supreme” is revered partly based on its concept, ambition, and the passionate playing of the original four members, and Satomi’s quartet mirrors the original recording with piano, bass, drums, and violin in place of tenor saxophone. Although sax and violin may share an edgy, breathy soulfulness, the two instruments produce quite different sounds, and the wood and strings of the violin bring a new dimension to Coltrane’s music. Warmly evocative, Satomi’s violin is swiftly acrobatic and fiery in the up-tempo sections, while also adding distinctive violin characteristics like seductive whispering, percussive plucking, and playing two strings simultaneously for a multi-toned, haunting effect.
Moving through the four parts of the suite, “Acknowledgement”, “Resolution”, “Pursuance”, and “Psalm”, the quartet faithfully follows the map laid out by the classic Coltrane recording. Satomi’s violin performs the sax themes and, rather than reciting Coltrane’s solos, improvises freely while channeling Coltrane’s spirit and energy. Similarly, the piano, bass, and drum members each take impressive turns in the spotlight as arranged by the original composition. The high-resolution MQA-CD captures the four musicians with full, clear sound as they spare no efforts to reach supreme heights.
A bonus track performance of “Danny Boy” is included after the jazz suite as a calming ballad encore.
Noriko Satomi: A Love Supreme
Released in 2019 on T-Toc Records as TTOC-0032.
Awarded the Jazz Japan Award 2019 Album Of The Year for High-Quality Media (January 2020 issue #114).
(Names in Japanese: Noriko Satomi 里見紀子 Masaaki Imaizumi 今泉正明 Shin Kamimura 上村信 Masahiko Osaka 大坂昌彦)
Audio excerpt from “A Love Supreme Part 2: Resolution”, the second track from this album:
The official promotional video for Noriko Satomi’s “A Love Supreme”: