Recent listening, current

Thursday, March 7, 2013

53. Alice Coltrane / Journey in Satchidananda (1970)

Alice plays harp and piano, with help from two lineups of New Jazz practitioners (one band for the studio, and one recorded at the Village Vanguard). Coltrane's harp is wild and free, and the diverse instruments of her band make a colorful backdrop of shifting textures and rich tonalities. Pharoah Sanders' tenor and soprano saxes are played with an ear toward Middle Eastern or north African themes, but no on. If you've ever questioned or been curious about the influence of the former on the latter, this as close to a living, breathing side-by-side comparison that you're ever going to get. The liner says something about Coltrane's association with Swami Satchidananda and his doctrine of universal love. While we listen, we are invited to envision ourselves floating on his love for humanity. I'm not sure I prefer to do that over listening to how the musicians choose to stretch out and cooperatively interpret music that is entirely modal in form. I always hear something new, especially from McBee.

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