The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda

I have waited patiently within my soul for the spiritual music of Alice Coltrane to become available. As a firm believer in spirituality and the healing power of music these recordings resonate to the foundation of my beliefs.

“…If we put one fourth of the time into trying to understand our spirituality that we put into wanting to grow more wealthy, we would find some of the incredible things occurring in our universe that we need to be aware of…”

Alice Coltrane’s devotion to spirituality was the central purpose of the final four decades of her life, an often-overlooked awakening that largely took shape during her four-year marriage to John Coltrane and after his 1967 death. By 1983, Alice had established the 48- acre Sai Anantam Ashram outside of Los Angeles. She quietly began recording music from the ashram, releasing it within her spiritual community in the form of private press cassette tapes. On May 5th, the record label Luaka Bop, founded by David Byrne, will release the first-ever compilation of recordings from this period, making these songs available to the wider public for the first time. Entitled World Spirituality Classics, Volume 1: The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda’, the release is the first installment in a planned series of spiritual music from around the globe; curated, compiled and distributed by Luaka Bop.

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This powerful, largely unheard body of work finds Alice singing for the first time in her recorded catalog, which dates back to 1963 and includes appearances on six John Coltrane albums, alongside Charlie Haden and McCoy Tyner, and 14 albums as bandleader starting with her Impulse! debut in 1967 with ‘A Monastic Trio.’ The songs featured on the Luaka Bop release have been culled from the four cassettes that Alice recorded and released between 1982 and 1995: ‘Turiya Sings,’ ‘Divine Songs,’ ‘Infinite Chants,’ and ‘Glorious Chants.’ The digital, cassette and CD release will feature eight songs. The double-vinyl edition features two additional songs, “Krishna Japaye” from 1990’s ‘Infinite Chants, and the previously unreleased “Rama Katha” from a separate ‘Turiya Sings’ recording session.

Luaka Bop teamed with Alice’s children to find the original master tapes in the Coltrane archive. The recordings were prepared for re-mastering by the legendary engineer Baker Bigsby (Ornette Coleman, Sun Ra, John Coltrane), who had overseen the original sessions in the 80s and 90s. The compilation showcases a diverse array of recordings in addition to Alice’s first vocal work: solo performances on her harp, small ensembles, and a 24-piece vocal choir. The release is dotted with eastern percussion, synthesizers, organs and strings, making for a mesmerizing, even otherworldly, listen. Alice was inspired by Vedic devotional songs from India and Nepal, adding her own music sensibility to the mix with original melodies and sophisticated song structures. She never lost her ability to draw from the bebop, blues and old-time spirituals of her Detroit youth, fusing a Western upbringing with Eastern classicism. In all, these recordings amount to a largely untold chapter in the life story of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda.

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In addition to the recordings, GRAMMY-winning music historian Ashley Kahn has written extensive liner notes for the collection. The package also includes a series of interviews with those who knew Alice best, conducted by Dublab’s Mark “Frosty” McNeill, and an as-told-to interview between musician Surya Botofasina (who was raised on Alice’s ashram) and journalist Andy Beta. 2017 marks what would have been Alice’s 80th year of life, as well as the 10th anniversary of her passing. Alice will be celebrated at events throughout the United States, Europe and South America in the coming year. With this in mind, the time is right to bring this meaningful piece of Turiyasangitananda’s legacy into focus.

Track Listing

1. Om Rama*
2. Om Shanti
3. Rama Rama
4. Rama Guru
5. Hari Narayan
6. Journey to Satchidananda**
7. Er Ra
8. Keshava Murahara
9. Krishna Japaye
10. Rama Katha

A Love Supreme: The Complete Masters

 

On December 9th, 1964, John Coltrane and his classic quartet (Elvin JonesJimmy Garrison and McCoy Tyner) went into the legendary Van Gelder Studio in New Jersey and recorded A Love Supreme–the four-part suite that has influenced musicians and reached generations of fans far beyond the jazz world. Far less known is the fact that Coltrane, his classic quartet and two additional musicians–the legendary saxophonist Archie Shepp and second bassist, Dr. Art Davis–returned to the studio the next day to cut the opening part of the suite again. Until now, the complete picture of what happened on those two days, including all takes, overdubs, and even studio chatter, has been unavailable.

That will change on November 6th when Verve Music Group proudly releases A Love Supreme: The Complete Masters, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the release of this seminal recording. It will include this alternate version, taken from reels from the personal collection of John Coltrane and originally recorded in incredible sonic detail by Rudy Van Gelder, along with revised notes and detailed information on these amazing lost sessions.

A Love Supreme: The Complete Masters will be available in two formats: a 2-CD set, including the original best-selling album, along with unreleased mono “reference” versions of two tracks, owned by Coltrane himself, and seven unreleased performances from the two sessions. A 32-page booklet features an extensive essay by Ashley Kahn, noted producer, instructor and author of A Love Supreme: The Story of John Coltrane’s Signature Album, rare photographs from the sessions and all of Coltrane’s surviving musical sketches and written elements for the groundbreaking, four-part suite, including the words that would become the poem, “A Love Supreme.”

A 3-CD “Super Deluxe Edition” of A Love Supreme: The Complete Masters adds what is currently the only documented live recording of the album, a spirited, impromptu performance from the Festival Mondial du Jazz Antibes in July 1965, which had been previously available on a 2002 edition of the album. This 3-CD set is presented in a larger format that includes additional information about the live material and a personal introduction by Carlos Santana.

Ashley Kahn writes in the essay to A Love Supreme: The Complete Masters: “Fifty years after its release, voices that speak of divine light and supreme love have trouble being heard. Lines that divide people run deep. At odds with itself, the world lacks the spirit to ascend and is needful once again of a spiritual recharger like A Love Supreme. The sound and message of John Coltrane remain more relevant than ever.”

The Universal Tone, My Life By Carlos Santana

Carlos Santana will release his biography, The Universal Tone, My Life on November 4, 2014. The book will be published by Little, Brown and Company, a publishing group of Hachette Book Group.

The intimate and long-awaited memoir of guitar legend Carlos Santana

In the realm of guitar gods, Santana stands alone for what’s come to be called his “universal tone”-both the fact that you can recognize a Santana song from just one note and the fact that Santana is well known to believe music and soul are interconnected.

In the category of major rock memoirs yet undone, this is at the top-a big autobiography by one of the most mysterious and influential musicians of the last 50 years.

From growing up dirt poor in Mexico and suffering abuse to becoming a lowly dishwasher in the US with a hot guitar hand, to a person whom you might almost think is perpetually in a state of nirvana or at least bliss, this is the story of a fascinating man who brings the ideal combination of storytelling gold and a major marketing machine.

This is one of the most sensory (and sensual) major rock bios you’ll ever read. His voice comes through, it’s deeply honest and frank, and from imagining the wisps of smoke from a long gone Miles Davis before Carlos’s shows to describing the depths of his connection to sound, Santana brings a remarkable book to his huge following this fall.

Collaborators

The C in Carlos stands for collaboration. The Santana album, Supernatural commenced Carlos Santana’s collaboration era. All of his next albums evidence that cooperative spirit. It stands to reason that Carlos Santana would collaborate his personal journey with his two close music writer/historian friends, Ashley Kahn and Hal Miller. Carlos Santana, Ashley Kahn and Hal Miller share a common bond, the spirit of jazz embodied by Mr. Miles Davis and Mr. John Coltrane. I feel it is important that my readers gain an appreciation for the backgrounds of these two prominent music journalists. It will increase your anticipation of the quality of the biography we will receive later this year.

I also point you to a Web article about Ashley Kahn interviewing Carlos Santana at the New Orleans Jazz Fest 2014.

Ashley Kahn

Ashley Kahn has authored three of the best jazz books you will ever read. Two of those three books are about major jazz albums, Kind of Blue by Miles Davis and A Love Supreme by John Coltrane. Each book is a masterpiece of research, rich in history and facts about these classic recordings. I own both books, signed and I love to read them as I listen to these two amazing albums to gain more insight about the respective jazz geniuses.

Kind of Blue: The Making of the Miles Davis Masterpiece, foreword by Jimmy Cobb, 2001, Da Capo Press, USA, ISBN 0-306-81067-0

A Love Supreme: The Story of John Coltrane’s Signature Album, foreword by Elvin Jones, 2002 for the first edition, Viking Penguin, USA, ISBN 0-670-03136-4

The third jazz book covers the definitive jazz label, Impulse Records. Nate Chinen just wrote a fantastic article in the New York Times about Impulse Records resurgence.

 

The House That Trane Built: The Story of Impulse Records. (2006) W. W. Norton, ISBN 0-393-05879-4

Ashley Kahn is also a prolific liner note writer for a variety of music reissue labels, for which he has earned three ASCAP/Deems Taylor awards, and two Grammy nominations.

Ashley Kahn presently is an adjunct professor at New York University, teaching various courses for the Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music in NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. I’d love to attend one of his courses.

Hal Miller

Hal Miller is a longtime personal friend of Carlos Santana. Hal Miller is Carlos’s documentarian. Hal is a subject matter authority on Carlos Santana and the world of jazz. Hal has authored insightful liner notes for recordings in the Santana catalogue. Hal’s liner notes proved noteworthy for the Santana reissues, Caravanserai, Love Devotion and Surrender, and Moonflower.

Hal Miller has documented many of the Santana concert tours which you can read on the Santana.com Tour Blog. Hal Miller is also a great photographer, look here for you many of his Santana photographs.

Hal Miller shuns publicity on the InterWeb which I respect about him. This Website had the best tribute and information links about Hal.

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Charles Lloyd – Athens Concert

JazzTimes October 2011 coverI have read a perceptive article about Charles Lloyd, “The Fires Are Still Burning”. The JazzTimes story is authored by my favorite jazz music journalist, Ashley Kahn. (Webzine edition can be found here.)

Ashley Kahn is the author of several pivotal jazz books in my collection. I have come to depend upon him to unlock the inner secrets of jazz legends and he has never failed my expectations. His article expands the depth and vision of Charles Lloyd spiritual saxophonist/band leader.

I saw the Charles Lloyd Quartet at the beginning of this year in concert at Wesleyan University. I wrote about that stellar experience in this blog post. Wesleyan University was so taken with my concert review I was awarded two free tickets to a concert of my choice, anytime in the future.

The year got busy on me and I lost sight of Charles Lloyd’s musical output.  ECM released Athens Concert on September 13, 2011 and I meant to get a copy at that time. The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.

Fortunately life provides second chances and as luck would have it I found the JazzTimes article so I ordered a copy of Athens Concert. It’s due to arrive today by parcel post from Amazon. I am eager to delve into this double-disc package recorded live at the outdoor Herodion amphitheater at the base of the Acropolis. Every bone in my body tells me this is a monumental work consisting of 18 well articulated, melodic songs.

I’ve never been to Greece nor have I sat in an outdoor stone amphitheater to listen to jazz under the stars. Athens Concert affords me the rare opportunity to carry out both without leaving the comfort of my listening chair.

I can’t wait to report back to you what I have discovered about Athens Concert. (Reserves this space to share with you what I will learn and absorb shortly…)

Charles Lloyd Quartet - Mirror (Album Cover)

Happy 85th Birthday John Coltrane – A Love Supreme

A photograph of the icon of John Coltrane at t...
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Today, Friday September 23, 2011, we celebrate the 85th Birthday of John Coltrane.

As a Sirius/XM subscriber and rabid jazz music fan, I am enthralled that Sirius XM is offering a four-day music tribute to John Coltrane. It’s sympatico that Carlos Santana is hosting this event. Carlos Santana is a subject matter authority on Coltrane. He is directly responsible for expanding my field of vision for  John Coltrane’s music. I welcome the further education of gaining valuable insights from Carlos Santana, Cindy Blackman-Santana, Ravi Coltrane and others during the width of this broadcast.

I have attended 16 Santana concerts and it never fails to touch my spiritual core when the Santana Band performs, “A Love Supreme”.  I lift my arms in praise of God during the chanting of this hymn. It is a magnificent way to thank God for the gifts of spirituality and healing power of music channeled by John Coltrane and Santana.

I highly recommend the book A Love Supreme: The Story of John Coltrane’s Signature Album by Ashley Kahn. It is the definitive work about jazz’s most definitive recording.

If you study the book site Web link closely you will see that there was an event at Joe’s Pub in NY City on November 12, 2002 which was a tribute to the reissue of the Deluxe Edition of A Love Supreme. We attended that event and I was very honored to meet Alice Coltrane, Ravi Coltrane and Ashley Kahn that evening.

I felt the most wonderful spiritual vibe when I shook Alice Coltrane’s outstretched hand backstage. She had not seen the CD packaging before I asked her to sign it for me. She was so pleased to have a physical copy as she shared it happily with her family and friends. Then she asked me, “May I borrow your silver pen to sign other autographs? I said, “Certainly, Alice”. She made a special point of saying to me, “Do come back for it in a little while.” Which I did. Her smile was so radiant, I still beam thinking of her aura.

Carlos Santana Hosts John Coltrane Radio

John ColtraneIn celebration of the legendary jazz saxophonist and composer’s 85th birthday, John Coltrane Radio airs on Real Jazz from Thursday, September 22, the day before Coltrane’s 85th birthday, at 9 am ET through Sunday, September 25 on channel 67.
John Coltrane Radio will be hosted by Grammy® Award-winning musician and Coltrane aficionado, Carlos Santana, as well as his wife, musician Cindy Blackman-Santana and Coltrane’s son, saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, featuring the music spanning the jazz legend’s career, including his over 100 albums, performances and music from his years playing with Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk.
The channel features performances by the Asian-American Jazz Orchestra and Devin Philips recorded at the Portland Jazz Festival, as well as a special tribute performance by Roy Haynes and His Fountain of Youth Band recorded at the SiriusXM studios in New York. Additionally, you’ll hear musicians such as Roy Haynes, Hugh Masekela and Stanley Clarke and share personal stories and memories about Coltrane.