Adding words to Coltrane’s A Love Supreme? Not a good idea. Why mess with it? You may as well add a tape loop of explosions and screaming to Guernica.
To use the parlance of a friend, Kurt Elling’s got huevos. He stuck the landing with Coltrane on his 2003 Man in the Air CD. He’s also gone in the other direction and added music to words - Kenneth Rexroth’s Married Blues, for example, and even Whitman’s Song of Myself. For anyone else, reinterpreting the gold standard of jazz ballad records would seem foolish. But I think Kurt is up to it.
In January 2005, Larry Applebaum was digging through some old Voice of America tapes at the Library of Congress. He found one labeled “sp. Event 11/29/57 carnegie jazz concert (#1).” It turned out to be the only full-length professionally recorded document of the short-lived collaboration between two jazz giants. The discovery allowed critics and historians to flesh out the accepted narrative of how Thelonious Monk influenced John Coltrane.