In memoriam Alice Coltrane

The great saxophonist John Coltrane left behind two (spiritual) possibilities as to engagement in research and placement of world music. The first – the more »universal« one – was developed through the free jazz of Albert Ayler. At a time when John Coltrane was considerably contributing to Ayler’s undreamed-of development – both financially and morally – he met a kindred introverted soul mate Alice McLeod, his wife-to-be, at New York’s Birdland. John Coltrane stirred paternalistic jazz circles when this barely known young pianist from Detroit replaced the established McCoy Tyner in his quintet. A talented student of Bud Powell, one might well say - with hindsight - that the young Alice McLeod was John’s only student, and became an authority on the »more meditative« orientations of Indian world music à la Coltrane. From today’s perspective, John’s intention is perfectly clear: Alice – following her husband’s bold advice, dedicated herself to the harp and soon after to instruments of a more folk nature. Subsequent to a number of recordings for the Impulse label she almost completely withdrew from jazz, if not from all secular music.
Alice took a vow of celibacy after John’s death in 1967, and arranged and completed his rich heritage; she also guided her four children – one of whom, John Jr., died in a car accident in 1982 – on a particular music path. In addition to performing solo, as well as with her children, Alice Coltrane also devoted herself to a spiritual life, becoming a follower of Sathya Sai Baba, changing her name to Turiyasangitananda, and going on to establish the Vedantic Centre in California. Those rare occasions Alice performed publicly under her old name, are documented through pictures distinguished by her sad smile, her involvement in music recording business, and a project with Carlos Santana… In the 1990’s she was »rediscovered« (what an absurdity) by a trendy new age which she always – being a truly devoted spiritual being – refuted.
A few weeks before her death, following infinite persuasion and a twenty-five-year break from major public performances, she returned to the stage with bassist Charlie Haden, drummer Roy Haynes, and her versed saxophonist son Ravi - to whom she ceded concern for John’s music heritage. Alice Coltrane was a very special musician and composer, one of the most original researchers of audio cosmology and the divine dimension of performance, a genuine Translinear Light. Miha I. Zadnikar

Organized by: City of Women
In collaboration with: SEM Café

Date and time of event: 
Oct 03rd 22:00
Place of event: 
Kavarna SEM
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