Alice Coltrane W/ Strings – World Galaxy (1972)
Today’s record has a distinct imprint, something really powerful, different from everything that already appeared here. With a very suggestive name, i invite you all to enter in a spiritual journey led by the surpassing Alice Coltrane, namaste!
Let’s go to our history:
Born and raised in the religious family of Solon and Anne McLeod in Detroit, Michigan, Alice McLeod (August 27, 1937 – January 12, 2007) became interested in music and began her study of the piano at the age of 7. She consistently and diligently practiced and studied classical music. Subsequently, she enrolled in a more advanced study of the music of Rachmaninoff, Beethoven, Stravinsky, and Tchaikovsky.
Alice: ‘Classical music for me, was an extensive, technical study for many years. At that time, I discovered it to be a piece of truly profound music with a highly intellectual ambiance. The classical artist must respectfully recreate the composer’s meaning. Although, with jazz music, you are allowed to develop your own creativity, improvisation, and expression. This greatly inspires me.’ (!)
With a scholarship to the Detroit Institute of Technology, her musical achievements began to echo throughout the city, to the extent that she played in many music halls and churches, for various occasions as weddings, funerals, and religious programs. Her skills and abilities were highly enhanced when she began playing piano and organ for the (gospel) junior and senior choirs at her church.
But her brother, bassist Ernie Farrow, introduced her to jazz early on, and as a teen, she became quite taken with bop and its offshoots. In Detroit, she played piano on sessions with masters like guitarist Kenny Burrell and saxophonist Lucky Thompson. By the early 60’s she was sharing the bandstand with vibes player Terry Gibbs, it was on tour with Gibbs that she met saxophonist John Coltrane.
Their 1965 wedding was the start of a musical union as well. When she replaced pianist McCoy Tyner in the classic Coltrane Quartet there was hubbub in the jazz world. But John Coltrane’s music was unfolding further with every passing month, he had begun probing musical motifs and deep inspiration from the East.
When her husband died in 1967, Alice continued working with members of his last group, including Garrison, saxophonist Pharoah Sanders, and drummer Rashied Ali. She began playing the harp, utilizing sitar and tablas in the ensemble, and turning fully to Eastern cultures for inspiration. Spiritual and colorful, her music morphed into the soundtrack for prayer and meditative techniques. (!)
Coltrane was a devotee of the Indian guru Sathya Sai Baba, and over the 70’s she established herself into the Vedantic Center, in California, changing his name to Turiya and evolving as a spiritual Hindu guru. Even releasing some albums through the 80’s and 90’s, she decided to diminished their public appearances, and following a 25-year break from major public performances, returning to the stage for three U.S. appearances in the fall of 2006, with a concert for the San Francisco Jazz Festival with her son Ravi, drummer Roy Haynes, and bassist Charlie Haden.
Alice Coltrane died of respiratory failure at West Hills Hospital in LA, aged 69. (RIP)
Let’s go to our record:
This big lush symphonic beauty must be heard over and over, with no distinction of tracks or highlights, Alice’s music creates his own wash of color and dynamic for the strings to fall like water from the sky into her mix, it shifts and change constantly as the rhythm section responds, in the prism of Coltrane’s textured harpistry.
This set may take some getting used to for some, but it’s easily one of the strongest records Alice Coltrane ever released, and one of the finest moments in 70’s jazz!
Prepare yourself and be ready for the voyage, चांगल्या ट्रिप!
A1 My Favorite Things (Rogers – Hammerstein)
A2 Galaxy Around Olodumare
A3 Galaxy In Turiya
B1 Galaxy In Satchidananda
B2 A Love Supreme (Coltrane)
All Galaxys composed by Alice Coltrane
- Alice Coltrane: percussion, piano, organ, harp, tamboura
- Reggie Workman: bass
- Ben Riley: drums
- Elayne Jones: timpani
- Frank Lowe: saxophone, percussion
- Swami Satchidananda: voice
- Leroy Jenkins: solo violin
The String Orchestra
- David Sackson: concertmaster (all other members, strings)
- Alan Shulman
- Arthur Aaron
- Avron Coleman
- Edward Green
- Harry Glickman
- Henry Aaron
- Irving Spice
- Janet Hill
- Joan Kalisch
- Julien Barber
- Ronald Lipscomb
- Seymour Miroff
- Thomas Nickerson
- William Stone
- Arranged, Orchestrated, Producer – Alice Coltrane
- Cover, Design – Peter Max
- Engineer (Assistant) – Dan Tuberville, Dennis Ferrante
- Mixed By – Baker Bigsby
- Mixed At – The Village Recorder (LA)
- Narrator – Swami Satchidananda (tracks: B1, B2)
- Photography By – Philip Melnick
- Producer – Ed Michel
- Recorded By – Tom Flye
- Recorded At – Record Plant, NYC
Recorded November 15 and 16, 1971, at The Record Plant (NYC)