COMPOSERS: Alice Coltrane
ALBUM TITLE: Alice Coltrane
WORKS: The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane, Turiyasangitananda
PERFORMER: Alice Coltrane (vocals, harp) et al
CATALOGUE NO: LB87CD (LB87LP)
If tenor sax player John Coltrane shaped generations of tenor sax players, the influence of his wife’s devotional music has also endured. It is still popular in today’s jazz scene.
As a pianist, Coltrane was rooted in modern jazz and joined her husband’s band when his abstract improvisation was shifting towards Eastern style chants and cycles. After he died in 1967 and she converted to Vedic Hinduism, Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda retreated, making music designed for meditation.
This compilation, made up of tracks from privately produced cassettes for her ashram in California, reveals a musician out of the public eye and open to all possibilities. Sewn into the handclaps and chants of the devotees there’s gospel call and response vocals as well as blue-tinged organ lines, an Oberheim OB8 synth unfurling sheets of sound.
A decade on from her passing, this is an absorbing glimpse into the life of an important artist whose reputation keeps on growing.