Alice Coltrane

The second wife of legendary saxophonist John Coltrane, multi-instrumentalist Alice Coltrane became a unique musical figure in her own right and created an extraordinary fusion of avant-garde jazz and Indian spiritual music. Born into a musical family in Detroit, she was taught classical piano from the age of seven and played in local jazz clubs before moving to Paris to study with be-bop pianist Bud Powell in the late 1950s. She had a short-lived marriage to singer Kenny Hagood before returning to the US to play with the Terry Gibbs Quartet and married Coltrane in 1965. As Coltrane's classic quartet era came to an end and he pursued a looser, free-jazz style, there was some controversy when Alice replaced the iconic McCoy Tyner on piano, but she played with him on albums such as 'Live at the Village Vanguard Again!' and 'Live in Japan' as the music became more psychedelic and experimental. After his death in 1967, her musical and spiritual journeys continued to entertain a look to Middle-Eastern influences. Her debut solo record 'A Monastic Trio' was intended as a tribute to John and featured bluesy jams alongside free-jazz rambles, but she went on mix meditative organ lines with lush strings arranged by Ornette Coleman on the highly acclaimed 1971 album 'Universal Consciousness'. There were also nods to her early roots in classical and gospel music and she played the harp on some records, before giving up her secular life, opening an Ashram in Los Angeles and taking the Sanskrit name Turiyasangitananda in 1975. She continued to make meditative music involving Hindu chants and prayers for her students, but disappeared from the music industry and became a dedicated spiritual leader. In 2004 her son Ravi Coltrane enticed her to record a new album 'Translinear Light' and after a twenty five year absence returned to performing live. She died in 2007 from respiratory failure aged 69, but a decade later her recordings in the Ashram were released on the album 'World Spiritual Classics: Volume 1'.

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Stations Featuring Alice Coltrane

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