RECOMMENDED RECORD: Alice Coltrane: A Monastic Trio (Impulse)

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Gospel Trane
RECOMMENDED RECORD: Alice Coltrane: A Monastic Trio (Impulse)

From time to time Elsewhere will single out a recent release we recommend on vinyl, like this album released for the first time in decades on record.

Check out Elsewhere's other Recommended Record picks . . .


An excellent and intelligent reissue in the Verve by Request series, these late-Sixties recordings by the much underrated pianist/harpist widow of jazz sax legend John Coltrane.

The 2005 CD issue included tracks from two albums, Cosmic Music and A Monastic Trio, and resequenced them to shift from quartet to piano trio to harp trio. And it went out on a previously unissued solo piano piece she recorded during the sessions for John's Expression album.

This reissue reverts to the original vinyl tracks: Ohnedaruth, Gospel Trane, I Want to See You, Lovely Sky Boat, Oceanic Beloved and Atomic Peace. 

In jazz consciousness Alice has always been overshadowed by her husband (hardly surprising, genius like his doesn't grace this planet often) and also the period of her best work- - full of all that cosmic, universal-consciousness, Indian-mystic stuff with gurus -- seems just so passe to hipper-than-thou folk for many decades.

But the wheel has turned with recent Alice releases

However, should anyone have doubted her credentials, the presence of Ben Riley and Rashied Ali (drums), bassist Jimmy Garrison and Pharaoh Sanders on tenor, flute and bass clarinet, should have silence any critic.

This delicious, evocative and sometimes sublime music not only transcends its period but often sounds more contemporary than most of what's out there today.

Points came off for the CD reissue for not dropping the 1968 interview with Alice which, needless to say, talks all about John, then dead but one year.

Here is all you need. As Amiri Baraka said in the original liner notes, Alice's piano "broods in its earth imagination."

A rediscovery, again.

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