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Alice Coltrane

Alice Coltrane in 2006. Photo by Filipe Ferreira
Background information
Birth name Alice McLeod
Born August 27, 1937(1937-08-27)
Detroit, Michigan, United States
Died January 12, 2007 (aged 69)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Genres Jazz, avant-garde jazz
Occupations bandleader, composer, sideman
Instruments piano, organ, harp
Years active 1962–2006
Labels Impulse!
Warner Bros. Records
Associated acts John Coltrane, Pharaoh Sanders, Flying Lotus

Alice Coltrane (née McLeod) (August 27, 1937 – January 12, 2007) was an American jazz pianist, organist, harpist, composer, and the wife of John Coltrane.



Born in Detroit, Michigan, Coltrane studied classical music, and studied with Bud Powell. She began playing jazz as a professional in Detroit, with her own trio and as a duo with vibist Terry Pollard. From 1962 to 1963 she played with Terry Gibbs's quartet, during which time she met John Coltrane. She replaced McCoy Tyner as pianist with John Coltrane's group in 1965. She married Coltrane in 1966, and continued playing with the band until his death in 1967. John Coltrane became stepfather to Alice's daughter Michelle, and the couple had three children: drummer John Jr., and saxophonists Oran and Ravi. John Jr. died in a car crash in 1982.

After John Coltrane (Sr.)'s death she continued to play with her own groups, moving into more and more meditative music, and later playing with her children. She was one of the few harpists in the history of jazz. Her essential recordings were made in the late 1960s and early 1970s for Impulse! Records.

Coltrane was a devotee of the Indian guru Sathya Sai Baba.[1] In 1972, Coltrane moved to California, where she established the Vedantic Center (see Vedanta) in 1975.[2] By the late 1970s she had changed her name to Turiyasangitananda.[3] Coltrane was the spiritual director, or swamini, of Shanti Anantam Ashram (later renamed Sai Anantam Ashram in Chumash Pradesh) which The Vedantic Center established in 1983 near Malibu, California.[4] On rare occasions, she continued to perform publicly under the name Alice Coltrane.[5][6]

The 1990s saw renewed interest in her work, which led to the release of the compilation Astral Meditations, and in 2004 she released her comeback album Translinear Light. Following a twenty-five-year break from major public performances, she returned to the stage for three U.S. appearances in the fall of 2006, culminating on November 4 with a concert in San Francisco with her son Ravi, drummer Roy Haynes, and bassist Charlie Haden.[6]

Alice Coltrane died of respiratory failure at West Hills Hospital and Medical Center in suburban Los Angeles. She is buried alongside her late husband John Coltrane in Pinelawn Memorial Park, Farmingdale, Suffolk County, New York.

Paul Weller dedicated his song "Song For Alice (Dedicated to the Beautiful Legacy of Mrs. Coltrane)," from his album 22 Dreams, to Coltrane; the track entitled "Alice" on Sunn O)))'s 2009 album Monoliths & Dimensions was similarly inspired. Electronic musician Flying Lotus is the nephew of Alice Coltrane.



  1. ^ "Swamini A. C. Turiyasangitananda". Sai Anantam Ashram. Retrieved 2007-06-09.  
  2. ^ Hazell, Ed. "Alice Coltrane", The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, ed. B. Kernfeld (London: Macmillan, 2002), i, 494.
  3. ^ (1978) Album notes for Transfiguration by Coltrane, Alice [CD liner notes]. Burbank, California: Sepiatone (STONE01). Coltrane wrote the liner notes as Turiyasangitananda. She had written liner notes as Turiya Aparna for Universal Consciousness (1971).
  4. ^ "Background". Sai Anantam Ashram. Retrieved 2007-06-09.  
  5. ^ Biography at Allmusic
  6. ^ a b Alice Coltrane Quartet featuring Ravi Coltrane with Charlie Haden & Roy Haynes. SFJAZZ. Retrieved on May 25, 2007.

External links



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