Selections from Alice Coltrane's blissful late-period meditation music will be reissued by Luaka Bop

The meditation music that the late jazz composer Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda created during her later years is getting the much-deserved reissue treatment.

On Thursday, the lauded label Luaka Bop announced the arrival of “World Spirituality Classics: The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda,” a collection that gathers work from four cassettes she issued between 1982-95.

Turiyasangitananda was married to jazz saxophonist John Coltrane (and is the mother of acclaimed saxophonist Ravi Coltrane and the great aunt of the Los Angeles beat producer Flying Lotus), and created mystical free jazz for the Impulse label during its late 1960s and early ’70s prime.

Long a devotee of transcendental meditation, Alice changed her last name in the 1970s, opened a 48-acre ashram outside of Malibu in the early 1980s and started composing works for her classes.

The recordings mark the first time any have been released on vinyl or compact disc and show the breadth of her skills. They also mark the earliest recordings on which Turiyasangitananda sings. 

A multi-instrumentalist who replaced McCoy Tyner in John Coltrane’s legendary band, for a long time Turiyasangitananda’s work was eclipsed by her late husband’s explorations. Since her passing in 2007, though, her influence has expanded, and the new collection reveals why. The versatile player works with instruments including synthesizer, harp, percussion, strings, organs and a 24-person choir on the recordings, and the free-floating results are ethereal without being spineless. 

“World Spirituality Classics: The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda” will also be put out on cassette. The LP version will feature two extra tracks, including one, “Rama Katha,” that has never before been released.

The volume, which arrives on the heels of a fantastic audio documentary by Dublab’s Mark “Frosty” McNeill, is the first in Luaka Bop’s new “World Spirituality Classics” series, one that mirrors similarly inspired Luaka Bop series including “World Classics,” “Brazil Classics” and “Cuba Classics.” 

 

For tips, records, snapshots and stories on Los Angeles music culture, follow Randall Roberts on Twitter and Instagram: @liledit. Email: randall.roberts@latimes.com.


UPDATES:

10:36 a.m. This article was updated to include an embed of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda’s piece ‘Om Shanti.”

This article was originally published at 5 a.m.

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