Alice Coltrane “Hare Krishna”

I hope to hear the whole thing someday

I hope to hear the whole thing someday

I can’t live without “Hare Krishna” from 1972’s Universal Consciousness, a record I don’t know and don’t have. I can’t say if the rest of it sounds like this or is any good. In fact I don’t know any of her other music. I have a fair amount of her husband’s, but I don’t listen to it much. I’m more into Monk.

I always say I’m not a big Jazz fan, in fact I usually say I hate it, when actually, I’ll admit to loving a lot of it.  For a non fan I sure have and cherish a lot of records.  “Hare Krishna” is one of my all-time favorite pieces of music.  It is a work of staggering beauty.  It’s intensely spiritual. It sounds like meditating while coming onto acid.  It’s some of the only ambient Jazz I know. It would sound great in an airport.

Alice Coltrane (née McLeod) (August 27, 1937 – January 12, 2007) was an American jazz pianist, organist, harpist, composer, and the wife of John Coltrane.
Born in Detroit, Michigan, Coltrane studied classical music, and studied with Bud Powell. She began playing jazz as a professional in Detroit, with her own trio and as a duo with vibist Terry Pollard. From 1962 to 1963 she played with Terry Gibbs’s quartet, during which time she met John Coltrane. She replaced McCoy Tyner as pianist with John Coltrane’s group in 1965. She married Coltrane in 1966, and continued playing with the band until his death in 1967. John Coltrane became stepfather to Alice’s daughter Michelle, and the couple had three children: drummer John Jr., and saxophonists Oran and Ravi. John Jr. died in a car crash in 1982.

After John Coltrane (Sr.)’s death she continued to play with her own groups, moving into more and more meditative music, and later playing with her children. She was one of the few harpists in the history of jazz. Her essential recordings were made in the late 1960s and early 1970s for Impulse! Records.

Coltrane was a devotee of the Indian guru Sathya Sai Baba. In 1972, Coltrane moved to California, where she established the Vedantic Center (see Vedanta) in 1975. By the late 1970s she had changed her name to Turiyasangitananda. Coltrane was the spiritual director, or swamini, of Shanti Anantam Ashram (later renamed Sai Anantam Ashram in Chumash Pradesh) which The Vedantic Center established in 1983 near Malibu, California. On rare occasions, she continued to perform publicly under the name Alice Coltrane.

The 1990s saw renewed interest in her work, which led to the release of the compilation Astral Meditations, and in 2004 she released her comeback album Translinear Light. Following a twenty-five-year break from major public performances, she returned to the stage for three U.S. appearances in the fall of 2006, culminating on November 4 with a concert in San Francisco with her son Ravi, drummer Roy Haynes, and bassist Charlie Haden.

Alice Coltrane died of respiratory failure at West Hills Hospital and Medical Center in suburban Los Angeles. She is buried alongside her late husband John Coltrane in Pinelawn Memorial Park, Farmingdale, Suffolk County, New York.

Paul Weller dedicated his song “Song For Alice (Dedicated to the Beautiful Legacy of Mrs. Coltrane),” from his album 22 Dreams, to Coltrane; the track entitled “Alice” on Sunn O)))’s 2009 album Monoliths & Dimensions was similarly inspired. Electronic musician Flying Lotus is the nephew of Alice Coltrane.

Hare Krishna

4 thoughts on “Alice Coltrane “Hare Krishna”

  1. Alice! I thought I had most everything by her on Impulse but not this one.
    Some great stuff! Yes I like jazz very much. I admit it freely. It saved my life
    when I was married and in the process of parting ways. My X hated it…the more she hated it the more I bought and listened. I could put my headphones on and just float away. Mostly hard bop and the like but Alice came around once in a while too. Thanks for turning me on to this ethereal jem.
    The only thing I don’t get is why is Jermain Jackson on the cover?

  2. Jazz is great for alienating philistines. When you start with the Art Ensemble of Chicago, where else are you going to go besides Hard Bop?
    I love Jazz, and have been listening to it a lot, lately. It just makes me mad that I can’t play it.
    Glad I posted a surprise for you.

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