Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Turiyasangitananda


I heard something very disturbing a few weeks ago, but what was especially disturbing about it was how and when I found out. 

I was recently reading an interview with a well known jazz musician,  who casually mentioned that Alice Coltrane was dead. I almost dropped the magazine.

Also known by her Hindu name Turiyasangitananda, Coltrane was a brilliant pianist as well as harpist and composer. She died January 14th of last year at the age of 69.  

Because she was not quite a mainstream household name on the level of her legendary husband, this was not widely reported.  To me this oversight was not just a reflection of the lack of interest in serious artists and culture in America, but subtle racism.  Alice Coltrane was Yoko to John Coltrane's well, John.   He wrote one of his seminal works, A Love Supreme while living with her, and she played in his last groundbreaking band for several years, taking the seat away from the great pianist McCoy Tyner with her own brand of lyricism. After her husband' s death, she created many wonderful albums of her own, Including Journey To Satchidanada and Monastic Trio, combining her unique piano with ethereal harp playing, along with superb musicians like Pharoah Sanders and Rashied Ali.
She made her last album, Translinear Light in 2005 with her son Ravi.

An excellent composer and improvisor, and a longtime devotee of Hinduism,  and a lover of peace throughout the world, she will be missed.


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