Thoughts on The Josh Kemp Quartet: “A Love Supreme” – 25 October 2023

Let us start with words from Steve Jordan, who supplied the setlist:

“As Elvin Jones said: ‘If you want to know who John Coltrane was, you have to know A Love Supreme.’

So all respect to the genius who was John Coltrane but also to the musicians who performed it on Wednesday evening at Fleece Jazz. They did it full justice and more and not a sheet of music in sight!

No sign of nerves but of intense respect for the wonder and beauty of the magnificent jazz suite that is A Love Supreme.  For 35 minutes, they took us to a higher level and transported us away.”

Steve said that the band was not reading a note for the suite. What they were reading were the projections of Coltrane’s words in his own hand as they rolled up the screen, and playing the music to the words. I talk about musicians listening: but the intensity with which they listened for the suite was palpable: we felt it. They looked drained when the suite concluded. What a special happening at the club, not to be forgotten.

Josh Kemp (of course on tenor sax) had produced an excellent programme for us. He was beautifully supported by Gareth Williams on piano, Dave Manington on bass and Tristan Maillot on drums. It was particularly nice to see Gareth and Tristan after far too long. 

The first set was music that Coltrane would have played, and three songs by Josh. I particularly liked “Effervescence”,  which Kemp wrote for his dad. Its 5/4 up-tempo rhythm gave one a good impression of his father’s personality. I have a private recording of his “The Angel of the North” from the last time Josh was here. I love the tune, and found my self silently singing the melody.

The second set was mostly “A Love Supreme”, followed by two happy numbers to break the intensity of the suite. It  was a great programme, but the suite will stand in the memory.

A word about the projections. I thought that they would take the attention away from the music. I was wrong. They were essential for the suite, and were integral to the fourth section. In the first section they were nice, each connected in some way to the tune being played. In Coltrane’s “Giant Steps” there were some steps in the projections.

On the 8th of November, the powerful young saxophonist Trish Clowes will be with us. She is supported by Ross Stanley on piano, Chris Montague on Guitar and Joel Barford on drums. This is a top class group. They will be presenting music from Trish’s highly acclaimed project “My Iris”. It will be a great one.

Take care,




  1. Happenstance (Josh Kemp)
  2. Effervescence (Josh Kemp)
  3. Giant Steps (John Coltrane)
  4. It’s Easy To Remember, But So Hard To Forget (John Coltrane)
  5. The Angel of the North (Josh Kemp)
  6. My Shining Hour (Harold Arlen/Johnny Mercer)

*          *          *           *         *        *        *

  1. A Love Supreme (John Coltrane):

Part 1: Acknowledgement

Part II: Resolution

Part III: Pursuance

Part IV: Psalm

  1. You Go To My Head (J. Fred Coots/Haven Gillespie)

        ENCORE: Mach 6 (Josh Kemp)

Posted in gig, Uncategorized.