March 3, 2017
David Byrne´s record label Luaka Bop announces the release of “World Spirituality Classics 1: The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda”, a material which will be presenting what is perhaps the most surprising part of her august career: the music she made for the members of Sai Anantam Ashram in California.
The album will be released on May 5 and will be available on a double LP (with the first pressing having two extra books of notes), a hard bound CD (with a 48 page booklet), digitally and — in spirit of her original releases – a cassette, our first ever such release since 1999.
Alice Coltrane was a legendary pianist, composer, spiritual leader, and the wife of John Coltrane, the most venerated and influential saxophonist in the history of jazz. In 1967, four years after meeting John, he died of liver cancer, leaving Alice a widow with four small children. Bereft of her soul mate, Alice suffered sleepless nights and severe weight loss. At her worst, she weighed only 95 pounds. She had hallucinations in which trees spoke, various beings existed on astral planes, and the sounds of “a planetary ether” spun through her brain, knocking her into a frightening unconsciousness.
Music was the foundation of Alice’s spiritual practice. From the mid 1980’s to mid 1990’s, Alice Coltrane self-released four brilliant cassette albums. These cassettes contained a music she invented, inspired by the gospel music of the Detroit churches she grew up in, mixed together with the Indian devotional music of her religious practice, and even finds Alice singing for the first time in her recorded catalog. Originally only made available through her ashram, they are her most obscure body of work and possibly the greatest reflection of her soul.
Listen: Composers Corner Podcast: 12. Alice Coltrane