By Daniel Margolis | Published September 2021
Alice Coltrane is noted for being John Coltrane’s musical partner and wife, but also for her groundbreaking contributions to spiritual jazz. Throughout the 1970s, in addition to maintaining the busy schedule of a recording and touring artist, Alice Coltrane was immersing herself in Eastern philosophies, mythologies and Vedic religious practices. By the early 1980s, she had become a guru and spiritual teacher and began to make music exclusively for her community at The Vedantic Center, northwest of Los Angeles.
The original recording of these songs, Turiya Sings, was released exclusively on cassette in 1982 for the students of the center. In addition to Alice’s voice and organ, the recording included synthesizers, strings and sound effects. In 2004, Alice’s son and producer of this record, Ravi Coltrane, found mixes of just Alice’s voice and her Wurlitzer organ, and set out on a long path toward sharing these with the world.
“As her son, growing up and hearing her playing these songs on the very same Wurlitzer you hear on this recording, I recognize this choice maintains the purity and essence of Alice’s musical and spiritual vision,” Ravi said. “In many ways, this new clarity brings these chants to an even higher place.”
They’re finally here. Recorded in 1981 and never previously shared in this form with the world at large, Kirtan: Turiya Sings collects nine devotional songs, featuring the never-before-heard combination of Alice Coltrane’s voice and organ. The music, sung in Sanskrit, is spacious and large. Alice’s voice has weight and power. The effect is mesmerizing.
“On this album, your ear will be turned toward the sound of the blues, to gospel, to the Black American church, often combined with the Carnatic singing style of southern India,” Ravi said. “You will hear beautiful harmonies influenced by Alice’s Detroit, Motown roots, her bebop roots, John Coltrane’s impact, and her absorption of European classical music, particularly that of her favorite — Igor Stravinsky.”
Ordering Info: impulserecords.com