ROIO of the Week
[Recordings of Indeterminate Origin]



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Alice Coltrane
UCLA 2006 [no label, 1CD]
Live at UCLA Royce Hall, Los Angeles, February 18, 2006

Alice Coltrane, widow of the jazz saxophonist John Coltrane and the pianist in his later bands, died on Friday, January 12, 2007, in Los Angeles. She was 69. The cause was respiratory failure, said Marilyn McLeod, her sister and assistant.

Although Alice might have been John Coltrane's wife, she was also a fine musician in her own right. In their tribute to Alice, the out-there jazz site, Destination Out, writes: "And here's the important thing: Alice was never afraid to look foolish. Some of her choices like, say, letting her guru chant over her rendition of "A Love Supreme," could make even her staunchest supporters blush. But that was part of the vision, too. She was pushing herself - both musically and spiritually - as far as she could, trusting her wild muse. Many of today's artists are far too fucking tasteful, afraid to go out on a limb for fear of it snapping under them, and end up settling for work that's simply pedestrian. It's that old saw: Good taste is the enemy of art."

After a 26-year hiatus from her previous album, 1978’s Transfiguration, which was recorded live at UCLA, Alice released Translinear Light in 2004. She was compelled to return to recording music by son Ravi Coltrane, who begged her for five years before she finally acquiesced to his request.

"It was really fun recording," Alice told Arthurmag.com. "(Ravi) was the one who really pleaded and begged and told me, 'Everywhere I go people are asking (about you)'."

John Coltrane had asked his wife to be part of his musical legacy by replacing his original pianist McCoy Tyner and have her join his band. "He had such insight," Alice said. "I was surprised that he asked me to join the band. (It was) not that I felt unqualified or not up to level; it wasn’t a matter of music or ability. It was just the number of talented people in the music world."

Writing in jazzreview.com, Edward Kane commented on the February 18 show at the UCLA: "Part of the magic of hearing music performed in person is the fact that you can’t know for certain what will happen in advance. That’s true in all kinds of music, but it’s particularly true when it comes to jazz. You can have an idea, sometimes a fairly good one, but you don’t know exactly what live music is going to sound like until it is played. When the artist in question hasn't played publicly for decades, as Alice Coltrane hadn't, it deepens the sense of alchemy that much further. That enigmatic quality never quite left the performance, even as the music unfolded. Such was the sublime nature of the concert, striking awe into the audience and inviting them to delight in the mystery of music, of life."

Perhaps it is music fan Richard Horowitz who summed it up best when he reviewed the show on his blog: "From the moment her hands touched the piano her fingers played notes that weren't there, notes in between the black keys and the white keys; notes carved directly into the unknown. There, in the urgency of that very first attack she resumed her primordial battle with chaos and harmony - The Ultimate Harmony - the chord that first started the universe and that is still moving through all of us. She is a medium and warrior, a woman with an ancient soul capable of bending the rigid chromatic tuning of the ultimate western instrument into an eastern one by creating undulating collisions. Notes collide at the edges of her elliptical phrases and suns are born.

"She is juggling waves of sound plasma. Flowing, shifting multidimensional webs and warps of energy that are grounded in the earth and far beyond the earth's gravity. She is channeling from above and below at the same time but there is no above and no below. She is an ethereal antenna in a fluid state of grace and balance. Her hands are magnets shifting over the keys; pulling the energy up from the molten core of the planet - up through us all and back to the cosmos. Fragile and grounded at-once, the timeless lightness of her presence is poised calmly above an immense physical and metaphysical catharsis."

The Coltrane family's wishes regarding donations:

In lieu of flowers, the Coltrane family asks that you please send donations to the following charities:
- The John Coltrane Foundation - 21777 Ventura Blvd., Suite 253; Woodland Hills, CA 91367.
- St Jude Children's Research Hospital.
- MusiCare Foundation - 156 W. 56th St. Suite 1701; New York, NY 10019.
- Habitat for Humanity.

Thanks to tranehead who shared this fine audience recording, we now have the chance to listen to Alice Coltrane live at UCLA's Royce Hall on February 18, 2006.

Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (these are high quality, stereo MP3s - sample rate of 192 kibit/s). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released.

Note: Due to the size of some of the files, please be patient when downloading the tracks.

 
Track 01 untitled (Ravi's intro) (6.6MB)
Track 02 Translinear Light (21.3MB)
Track 03 Crescent (19.0MB)
Track 04 Sita Ram (17.0MB)
Track 05 Walk With Me (7.4MB)
Track 06 The Hymn (10.5MB)
Track 07 Medley (44.6MB)

Thanks to John Schott for identifying Track 2.

Readers are welcomed to email us the tracklist if they can identify the untitled tracks.

Lineup:
Alice Coltrane - piano
Ravi Coltrane - saxophone
Reggie Workman - bass
Trevor Lawrence Jr - drums

Click on the link to order Alice Coltrane
albums.




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