Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

World Spirituality Classics 1: The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda (Luaka Bop)

After three decades, Alice Coltrane’s private-press spiritual music sees widespread release

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.
The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda
The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda

The Impulse! release of Translinear Light in 2004 was heralded as a re-emergence from self-imposed spiritual exile for Alice Coltrane, but that narrative only held true for those of us on the outside listening in. Though more than two decades had passed without a widely released album, Coltrane never stopped making music, even as she devoted herself to the Southern California ashram she founded in the mid-1970s. This new compilation released by David Byrne’s Luaka Bop imprint is a revelatory collection of devotional music from four cassette-only private-press releases that Swamini Turiyasangitananda, as she was known to her followers, recorded between 1982 and 1995.

Spirituality and music were always intimately intertwined for Coltrane. Growing up in Detroit, Alice McLeod found her earliest musical experiences in the church; she met John Coltrane in 1963, as the saxophonist was focusing his explorations on his spiritual path. The couple shared a searching intensity, though after John’s death in 1967 Alice’s music became increasingly ecstatic and blissful. She seemed to find inspiration less in the urgency of her husband’s late-career questing and more in a sense of transcendent contemplation.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published