Alice Coltrane's music from the ashram


Alice Coltrane -- the jazz pianist, organist and composer who was the second wife of John Coltrane -- was a devotee of Indian guru Sathya Sai Baba. In the early 1970s, she established the Vedantic Center, changed her name to Turiyasangitananda, and became the swamini (spiritual director) of an ashram in Malibu. She continued to compose music, releasing numerous recordings of spiritual jazz, chants, and swinging devotional songs. Much of this was available only on cassette via the ashram's Avatar Book Institute (and later CD). Last year, perhaps the most stunning cassette from this period, Divine Songs, was reissued on vinyl. First released in 1987, Divine Songs consists of nine deeply soulful, trancey, and moody tracks expressing her deep Hindu influence. Turiyasangitananda sings and plays her signature 70s Wurlitzer Centura organ with accompaniment from her ashram students. And yes, it's still available on CD as well. That's a good thing because finding the new vinyl, released by an outfit called Tummy Tapes (possibly as a bootleg), seems to have become quite challenging. In the meantime, you can groove to the whole album above.

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  1. I really love Journey in Satchidananda.

  2. I'm partial to Universal Consciousness, but Journey in Satchidananda was my introduction to both Ms. Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders. For those unfamiliar with this type of jazz and wishing to dig further, I'd recommend the jazzsupreme website.

    Note to @pesco, I want to point out that any number of her albums have been, and continue to be, available on CD -- I believe this post is specifying those cassettes/CDs that her ashram released.

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