Alice Coltrane - The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda
(Luaka Bop)

Rarely if at all do you read about the work of Alice Coltrane without the mention of the term “spirituality.” Rightfully so, as her and her late husband John Coltrane thrived on their spiritual influence that was inherent to their collaborative work. Their music was an act of spirituality. So it should come as no surprise that the latest collection of her music is titled: World Spirituality Classics 1: The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda. What will come as a surprise is the content of this collection. There is hardly a connection to jazz on this record other than the free form nature of the music, the sense that anything is possible. This is a compilation of tracks that originally surfaced only on independently distributed cassette tapes to the members of the Vendatic community that she established in California between 1982 and 1995. By this time she had given up on her secular life to fully devote herself to her religion that helped her get through the devastating loss of her husband.
The music itself is a combination of somewhat lo-fi electronic gospel music and African tribal music. With its firm rhythmic pulse, synthetic textures and choral chanting, it feels as if the music exists for reasons beyond enjoyment but for a higher purpose, as if it must be made. Alice's trademark harp playing appears on one of the more ethereal moments on this collection that's strongly reminiscent to her masterpiece album, Universal Consciousness, which nicely bridges the gap from her early works. Her solo efforts surely hinted that she would lean closer to Eastern music and further from the west but the element of jazz that was the cornerstone of her previous work is no longer such. The foundation of this music seems to be the strong sense of community, faith, and transcendence that the members of the center share. In this regard, you may have come upon the most spiritual album of her catalog, available now for the first time. (Adam)
Check out a track here.