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Alice Coltrane & Michael Brecker, Rest in Peace
Sad day for music. My condolences to their loved ones.
if the LA Times link doesn't work, here is the content:
Alice Coltrane, the jazz performer and composer who was inextricably
linked with the adventurous musical improvisations of her late husband,
legendary saxophonist John Coltrane, has died. She was 69.
Coltrane died Friday at West Hills Hospital and Medical Center in West
Hills, according to an announcement from the family's publicist. She
had been in frail health for some time and died of respiratory failure.
Though known to many for her contributions to jazz and early New Age
music, Coltrane, a convert to Hinduism, was also a significant
spiritual leader and founded the Vedantic Center, a spiritual commune
now located in Agoura Hills. A guru of growing repute, she also served
as the swami of the San Fernando Valley's first Hindu temple, in
For much of the last nearly 40 years, she was also the keeper of her
husband's musical legacy, managing his archive and estate. Her husband,
one of the pivotal figures in the history of jazz, died of liver
disease July 17, 1967, at the age of 40.
A pianist and organist, Alice Coltrane was noted for her astral
compositions and for bringing the harp onto the jazz bandstand. Her
last performances came in the fall, when she participated in an
abbreviated tour that included stops in New York and San Francisco,
playing with her saxophonist son, Ravi.
She was born Alice McLeod in Detroit on Aug. 27, 1937, into a family
with deep musical roots. Anna, her mother, sang and played piano in the
Baptist church choir. Alice's half brother Ernie Farrow was a bassist
who played professionally with groups led by saxophonist Yusef Lateef
and vibes player Terry Gibbs.
Alice began her musical education at age 7, learning classical piano.
Her early musical career included performances in church groups as well
as in top-flight jazz ensembles led by Lateef, guitarist Kenny Burrell
and saxophonist Lucky Thompson.
After studying jazz piano briefly in Paris, she moved to New York and
joined Gibbs' quartet.
"As fascinating - and influential - as her later music was, it
tended to obscure the fact that she had started out as a solid,
bebop-oriented pianist," critic Don Heckman told The Times on Saturday.
"I remember hearing, and jamming with, her in the early '60s at
photographer W. Eugene Smith's loft in Manhattan. At that time she
played with a brisk, rhythmic style immediately reminiscent of Bud
"Like a few other people who'd heard her either at the loft or during
her early '60s gigs with Terry Gibbs, I kept hoping she'd take at least
one more foray into the bebop style she played so well," he said.
She met her future husband in 1963 while playing an engagement with
Gibbs' group at Birdland in New York City.
"He saw something in her that was beautiful," Gibbs, who has often
taken credit for introducing the two, told The Times on Saturday. "They
were both very shy in a way. It was beautiful to see them fall in
Gibbs called her "the nicest person I ever worked with. She was a real
She left Gibbs' band to marry Coltrane and began performing with his
band in the mid-1960s, replacing pianist McCoy Tyner. She developed a
style noted for its power and freedom and played tour dates with
Coltrane's group in San Francisco, New York and Tokyo.
She would say her husband's musical impact was enormous.
"John showed me how to play fully," she told interviewer Pauline
Rivelli and Robert Levin in comments published in "The Black Giants."
"In other words, he'd teach me not to stay in one spot and play in one
chord pattern. 'Branch out, open up ... play your instrument entirely.'
... John not only taught me how to explore, but to play thoroughly and
After his death, she devoted herself to raising their children.
Musically, she continued to play within his creative vision,
surrounding herself with such like-minded performers as saxophonists
Pharoah Sanders and Joe Henderson.
Early albums under her name, including "A Monastic Trio," and "Ptah the
El Daoud," were greeted with critical praise for her compositions and
playing. "Ptah the El Daoud" featured her sweeping harp flourishes, a
sound not commonly heard in jazz recordings. Her last recording,
"Translinear Light," came in 2004. It was her first jazz album in 26
Through the 1970s, she continued to explore Eastern religions,
traveling to India to study with Swami Satchidananda, the founder of
the Integral Yoga Institute.
Upon her return she started a store-front ashram in San Francisco but
soon moved it to Woodland Hills in 1975. Located in the Santa Monica
Mountains since the early 1980s, the ashram is a 48-acre compound where
devotees concentrate on prayer and meditation.
Known within her religious community by her Sanskrit name,
Turiyasangitananda, Coltrane focused for much of the last 25 years on
composing and recording devotional music such as Hindu chants, hymns
and melodies for meditation. She also wrote books, including
"Monumental Ethernal," a kind of spiritual biography, and "Endless
Wisdom," which she once told a Times reporter contained hundreds of
scriptures divinely revealed to her.
In 2001 she helped found the John Coltrane Foundation to encourage jazz
performances and award scholarships to young musicians.
In addition to Ravi, she is survived by another son, Oren, who plays
guitar and alto sax; a daughter, Michelle, who is a singer; and five
grandchildren. Her son John Coltrane Jr. died in an automobile accident
If you're in the same age bracket as me, you grew into jazz in part listening to the sound of Mike Brecker and people trying to sound like him. Since he played with everybody at the time, there are so many examples of his recorded work. Here are a few of my favorites:
Steps Ahead (and Steps - Smokin in the Pit)
Three Quartets (with Chick Corea)
His solo albums, especially the first one.
Joni Mitchell's "Shadows and Light" band
The Purple Lagoon (with Frank Zappa)
the Jazz/Rock sideman stuff with Billy Cobham, Steve Khan, and (of course) the Brecker Brothers.
We'll miss you, Mike...
|Thread||Thread Starter||Forum||Replies||Last Post|
|Michael Brecker||Allan Johnston||General Discussions||4||Jul 28, 2005 04:28 PM|
|Michael Brecker||Mel||Seen / Heard||10||Mar 7, 2004 04:40 PM|