Mattson 2 Play ‘A Love Supreme’ :: The AD Interview

John Coltrane's vaunted A Love Supreme is a record with baggage. And while almost none of it is negative, the price of absolute reverence can be untouchability, or worse, mass appeal. And while the record may be Starter Pack worthy, underneath fifty-three-years of slow-burn into the popular consciousness  is still a musicality and composition that wows first-time listeners and to-this-day informs creators and philosophers alike.

But the album has never been untouchable. Artists have tried recreation and exploration, all with varied results. Yet it is still bold for the Mattson 2 to attempt a rendering of the esteemed Classic. Judged as a whole, the Mattson twins' take on Coltrane's opus is part worthy homage, part contribution to the ever-ongoing dialogue around the piece. Their version feels fresh, unique, and technically incredible.

Aquarium Drunkard: Did your dive into A Love Supreme start from a place of recitation and trying to get it down pat, or was there a creative undercurrent or burst right from the start?

Jared Mattson: It wasn’t an initial burst - what we wanted to do was pay reverence to the piece as far as the foundation and the theory of it - really get that dialed in the classic jazz manner. We had all the elements available in our head when we got to recording, and with all these elements, were able to create and add our own, unique voice to it. We didn’t want to repeat the lines that we had learned but we wanted those lines to be there just in case we wanted to quote from the original in a more referential sort of way.

Jonathan Mattson: I think that also highlights a really important point about jazz in general — half of jazz,   musicians say, is covers of older stuff, paying reverence to the past, and the other half is doing more original stuff. And what Jared and I did was, we did our homework and learned the piece and learned all the stuff around it, even the musicology aspects of it, we took that and used our own original approach to it. And we applied our own background, our own original sound, and made it our own, leaving the integrity of the piece, so you could still tell that its Coltrane.

There are certain [versions of the record by other artists] that just sound too much like the original, why not just listen to the Coltrane album? I’d rather just do that. You’re getting so close to it, and Coltrane does it so much better. And then there’s the other school, which I love, and they do a completely different take on it. Like Alice Coltrane, she does “A Love Supreme” in an amazing way, but it’s so different, you could almost give it another name. Any jazz musician could really sit down and delve into Coltrane and learn the technique, but what we brought to it and made it ours was our backgrounds and our compositional style. And also our telepathy as twin brothers, our ability to jam and improvise together as twins.

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