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Mattson 2: Play “A Love Supreme” (Spiritual Pajamas)

Review of a guitar/drum duo interpretation of the Coltrane classic

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Cover of Mattson 2 Play "A Love Supreme"
Cover of Mattson 2 Play “A Love Supreme”

A Love Supreme has been covered in its entirety before—Branford Marsalis’ quartet famously did it twice, in a too-faithful studio album and then on an adventurous live recording. And John Coltrane has been deconstructed before; see the rapturous take on Interstellar Space by guitarist Nels Cline and drummer Gregg Bendian. But never have we heard something quite like this effort from identical twins Jared and Jonathan Mattson. Mattson 2 Play “A Love Supreme” manages to hold Coltrane’s revered album in the highest esteem while absolutely shredding it to pieces.

It’s not quite as abrasive as the 1998 album from Cline and Bendian, but it’s in the same vein. Guitarist Jared and drummer Jonathan use the basic outline of A Love Supreme to fashion their own narratives, but they don’t try to follow in the saxophonist’s footsteps, which would be a Sisyphean task anyway. The iconic bass notes that announce the four-part suite are there, but then the Mattson brothers go off on their own odyssey. Jared often plays a two-necked guitar that gives him access to bass notes, but he’s overdubbed here, soloing on both at the same time. There’s a lot going on in these 24 minutes: The duo’s vision takes them through thick grooves and rock to moments of quietude and hazy ambience with synth-soaked washes. Coltrane’s signature album from 1965 was a tribute to God; Mattson 2’s version is an homage to A Love Supreme, but one that shows its respect while demonstrating how much more can be done with it—or to it.

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