Saturday, January 20, 2007


Such an icy and busy week, this last one.

This afternoon, getting in a workout at the ARC, I found myself listening to the otherworldly beautiful and thoroughly jazz music of Alice Coltrane's Translinear Light. It begins with organ melodies that hint at classical Indian scales, moves through a stunning rendition of John Coltrane's "Crescent," and concludes with Hindu bhajan singing. It's an album cut through with her many links: she was married, of course, to John Coltrane, and replaced McCoy Tyner on the piano after he left the quartet, complaining he couldn't hear himself play anymore as John Coltrane moved into ever more discordant, busy and--yes--loud improvizations. Her sons Ravi (named after Ravi Shankar, the great sitar master, and Norah Jones's father) and Oran play saxophone on the CD. And since her husband's death, she's become Swamini Turiyasangitananda, the leader of an ashram in California. Coltrane and India: two motifs with a long, beautiful history together.

Listening to this revival, this bringing forth again of these motifs, I remembered that I hadn't commemorated Alice Coltrane's passing last weekend.

The jazz community actually lost two in the space of a day: Alice Coltrane, on Friday, January 12. And Michael Brecker, "considered by many to be the most influential tenor saxophonist since John Coltrane," on Saturday, January 13.

And an ashram lost a teacher.

I mention them here, in tribute and gratitude.

1 comment:

gvcarter said...