John / Alice Coltrane - Cosmic Music LP
John Coltrane & Alice Coltrane's collaborative effort, Cosmic Music, is both a beginning and an end. It is an end to a career that can only be described as monumental, and the end of a partnership both creative and otherwise that had come to define both John and Alice professionally and spiritually. But it is also the arrival of a new presence in music, that being of Alice Coltrane the band leader. When John passed away in 1967, a singular voice had been forever silenced. But it would not be long before Alice would self release what has now been reissued in it's original form by Superior Viaduct, the most excellent Cosmic Music. Two cuts on the album are from John's final quintet including Pharoah Sanders and Alice on piano. These tracks embody the intensity inherent to John's final period, where ferocity evokes a meditative hum that shadows over the shimmering and shattering rhythms of his band. The last two tracks of the album are the first with Alice Coltrane as band leader.
For those of us who know where her story ends, we would end up with many essential genre defying releases from Alice throughout the rest of her career. But in 1968 it was not clear what her path would be after the loss of her husband. These two cuts put any doubt to rest and proved that Alice had a vision of her own that would pick up where John left off, but with a perspective that was truly original. She proved that she was not just the wife of a legend, but a legend in her own right. Her solo debut, A Monastic Trio, is clearly rooted in the cuts that appear on Cosmic Music, but with a tone of uncertainty or possibly even mourning that stands out among the rest of her work. It seems as if she was making a statement of purpose by making her first release as bandleader on a collaborative album with her late husband. It's as if she wanted the world to know that she was committed to the same cause of enlightenment through musical transcendence that John had dedicated his life to. A true statement of artistic integrity and a necessary piece of the Coltrane legacy. (Adam)
Check out a track here.