Promising "a radical, uplifting and shape shifting musical encounter that embraces and unites an array of global spiritual traditions," The Enlightenment Ensemble returns to the Union Chapel on July 1st with its incredible reimagining of John Coltrane's seminal album A Love Supreme. The show follows previous sell-out performances, including the Southbank Centre's Meltdown festival.

Curated by Straight No Chaser founder Paul Bradshaw, The Ensemble not only features an all-star cast of musicians spanning different generations of UK jazz, but instruments and living traditions from across the world reflecting the musical and spiritual explorations of Coltrane and his wife Alice. The show endeavours, and never fails, to "send out a much need healing message of Elegance, Elation, Exaltation and Supreme Love into a deeply troubled world."

Ahead of the hotly anticipated night, we caught up with the illustrious Shabaka Hutchings (of Sons of Kemet, The Comet is Coming, Shabaka and the Ancestors, Melt Yourself Down, and many more), to talk about getting into Coltrane's headspace, the place of religion in 2016, and why we should all be writing our own myths. You can get your tickets here.

What does A Love Supreme represent to you and has Coltrane-inspired your own output?

This work is a prayer. I hear in it a conversation between an artist and the spiritual forces which govern our world - his direct offering to a higher power, and it's the sheer sincerity that makes the music fizzle with a timeless intensity. I don't listen to Coltrane much now, not for the past few years actually. His work seems too personal, too close to a realm which I recognise as being outside the sphere of entertainment. Occasionally I'll listen to Crescent, A Love Supreme, or Transition, but I always get to a point where I feel like I need to be closer to Coltrane's psychological space (or rather, what I imagine this space to be) to surrender adequately to this music. This is the main area within which Coltrane has affected my view of music. It seems to me that whenever he performed, especially from 1965 when A Love Supreme was recorded, a ceremonial atmosphere governed his performance whether in or out the studio. Something inside me rebels against ingesting his offerings without being adequately ready.

There's a lot of history on stage too. What has the experience been like of working in an intergenerational band?

It was amazing, and it feels like there is a thread connecting the different generations of British jazz players - and that shared interest is American jazz. None of us are trying to replicate it; we've all taken bits of our own journeys and morphed them into what we imagine the music to be like from that. This project feels like a perfect example of that. You have different generations of players coming with their own identities and histories, and they all take from history, but come together to make something that exemplifies that, and it pushes forward the British jazz tradition too.

Coltrane's biographer, Ashley Khan, once said of attempts to rework or cover A Love Supreme: "It's like standing yourself up against Mt. Rushmore or the Washington Monument. You yourself have to feel that you are ready to take that on, that depth and intensity, and I think a lot of musicians have retreated from that." Did you experience this (as the man on the sax/clarinet!), and do you think there's truth to this statement?

I think there can be. There's an element of just playing the music, and that's that. I try not to be daunted by those concerns. It's a subjective thing - and it's about where you are coming from spiritually or musically. A Love Supreme is Coltrane's personal offering to his spirituality, and in some ways I've got a new reverence for the music, because everyone is going through their own spiritual path, whether they articulate it as eloquently as Coltrane or not. In us taking on this music, we're just saying, this is where we're at [with our own journeys]. Coltrane was a deeply spiritual person. He talked a lot about it, he made offerings on records for it, but we all go through our own version of spirituality as informed by the times that we are in. There's less emphasis on the individual musings about lineage and more about whether the overall vision of the project as a whole stands as a worthy testament to Coltrane's spiritual and worldview.

It's an ambitious undertaking, taking a piece of music for 4 parts and stretching it to accommodate 15 parts from different traditions around the world, what has the process been like?

The way that Roland [Sutherland, master flautist and composer of the piece] was able to combine these different instruments and cultures into a whole, and find a common link between all of these different threads is an inspiring thing. It's something that I really take to heart - the ability to integrate different elements into a whole. I think that's one of the essential elements of spirituality, because spirituality is about people. It's about individuals and the ability to unify and deliver a common value system, bearing mind that we are all going through separate experiences, with our own stories and interpretations of those stories. There needs to be some commonality or universality that we all share and that we're able to live together with.

One of the many beautiful aspects of A Love Supreme is the Psalm, and Coltrane playing out the dedication he had written through his sax, how did you approach playing this, particularly with your interest in the coded musicality of words (and your views of MC's and rappers as musicians)?

When I realised what Coltrane was doing, it made me think about the contour of words and lyrics, what they imply musically, and the power they have. It's made me think about hip-hop in a different way. If you take away linguistic meanings of the words, you find they have their own musical shape. Words have power. Some of the power of the words is that you have to go towards them. Though Coltrane plays the words on his saxophone, with this performance, we have a singer vocalising the words and it's a really good representation of what Coltrane was getting at. It inadvertently turns it on its head too, as in our case, we're having someone singing and getting a different type of musical melody from the words themselves - because he's not trying to play the music as Coltrane would have done through the sax.

The Ensemble seems to resolve - musically and spiritually - a wish for Coltrane, who once remarked in an interview that he thought all religions had the same basic components: "The basic things could bring people all together, if there was anyone to say, let's bring them together." The show does this to an extent, and with a great deal hostility in the world at the moment, particularly around religion, what message of Enlightenment are you hoping that playing A Love Supreme in 2016 can bring to London?

I guess the message for 2016 is just for people to consider the place of religion and spirituality. Religions and people aren't static entities, they move in relation to the way that societies move, and life is a forward moving thing. To me, it comes down to the fact that molecularly we're constructed through vibrational forces - every piece of matter is built and constructed within the context of motion and movement. So the way that we imagine the forces that govern these endless motions needs to be reflective of the fact that there is a forward trajectory.

That's how I interpret what we are trying to do. This isn't saying this is what it is, it's saying this is the way we interpret it, and this is our offering. Hopefully it inspires people to think about what they might be offering or whether they want to be offering anything, it's just about getting people to think.

One thing that's struck me in reading responses to the album and seeing the responses to performances, was people's reaction to the presence of religion - in particular the reading during The Ensemble's performance of Coltrane's poem. It seems to make people really uncomfortable, even though it's so obviously part of the music. Why do you think that is?

People like the concept of Coltrane , the theory that he was a deep guy and had lots of spiritual leanings, but when you are actually presented with that spirituality, it's easy for a general public that is apprehensive about religion to go 'ooh, I don't like that, that's a bit God-y!', and that's fair enough. If the course of your life means that you are reticent about overt religion, then there will be discomfort and awkwardness when it turns that one of your heroes was actually religious. The words the singers recite are the words that Coltrane wrote, and it's a long poem! He could've made it shorter but that's what he had to say, and it's a hard thing to be in the face of a spirituality that's not popular - but it's part of the music. Hopefully a project like will cause people to step back and ask what it is that is grounding them in their ideas religion or tradition - ask what's holding these thoughts together.

For me, A Love Supreme has come to symbolise transformation, fluidity and the possibility of other ways of being, for example the endless morphing of the iconic 4 note motif across different keys. In this sense I see a lot of resonance with your own ideas about myth making and the need for new myths, particularly for communities across the African diaspora with your Sons of Kemet album Lest We Forget What We Came Here to Do. What can Coltrane's work, and the work of the Ensemble teach us about myth making and building better futures?

I think that one thing you can learn is that myth-making is a thing that we should all do! Concepts like myth-making suggest that there are other people that have the power to look at black culture, to rethink it or reassess what it is. But artists and people who think creatively within any field show that there is a need to constantly reappraise what is seen as normal - but that is literally in your hands.

Continuing with this, the piece isn't just about the one album, it's a testament to Coltrane's life, and seems to tease out new possibilities for the 'myth' of Coltrane himself. Was this an aim of the show? It's easy view his music solely as expression of sorrow against white supremacy, but I'm inclined to see his efforts as somewhat decolonial. He pushed past the boundaries of western forms, exploring other musical structures, which hints at an active search for other spiritual truths and the musical means of expressing them.

I guess that's the bigger question about the representation of blackness, and it always becomes tricky when people start talking about blackness as an entity in and of itself, because it's a limiting term. It's a limiting term because blackness is being exemplified by every black person born ever in the world, and each person has different experiences. Obviously those experiences will be framed within a certain historic and social context. One of the problems concerning the representation of blackness is that it can try to force a unity - without saying that there is isn't unity in various aspects of shared experience - that is some ways not stemming from the people themselves

Like the myth of there being one way of being black?

Yeah, even if that myth is a noble one, like the idea of Coltrane - the spiritual, strong, intelligent guy, that's one way of interpreting the journey that he was on as an individual, but there are a lot of other ways of seeing and interpreting his journey.

There are whole albums, like Kulu Sé Mama, where he did use bata drums that aren't really written or spoken about, because it doesn't fit neatly into the narrative that a stalwart like Coltrane was looking at other cultures around the diaspora and representing his music through that. With the show, we're bringing together different strands of black culture together, showcasing their commonalities, but without pigeonholing them.

It's easy to say that Coltrane was one thing. Jazz books will often talk about the Indian influence on Coltrane's playing, and Ravi Shankar for instance, possibly because he talked about that influence explicitly; but there's a lot less acknowledgement of what Kulu Sé Mama opens up and it's interesting to see what cultural trends are lumped together or associated with Coltrane in narratives around jazz history.

There's a kora, Bata drums, Yoruba vocals and Indian percussion on stage. It seems like a way of pulling out of the shadows musical forms that are often cast as peripheral experimentation, rather than musical traditions with their own bodies of knowledge that came to play an integral role in the way that Coltrane and his contemporaries approached music. What's the significance of having all these musical traditions on stage to you?

For one, you're able to re-contextualise them, and see them as living traditions that have a future. The good thing about doing shows like this is that people can see the movement power of the music, that tradition isn't simply tradition.

For instance, you might call something 'traditional African music' without knowing the way that it's structured or what developments have being made throughout the years within that particular music itself. Our show might motivate some people to go back and listen to bata drumming, find out the ways that it's used, certain areas that might not have been considered before, and how it's changed musically over the years as opposed to seeing it as a static tradition.

The Enlightenment Ensemble returns to The Union Chapel on 1st July.