Staff Recommendation – “Illuminations” by Turiya Alice Coltrane

If a musically contemplative evening is what you’re after, why not delve into this 1974 collaboration with Alice Coltrane and Carlos Santana? With the parallel feel of experimental free jazz, 70s rock and Indian classical music, this album runs the gamut between serene and chaotic and is best listened to the entire way through.

Alice, who had been a musical collaborator in the jazz world with her husband John Coltrane, continued producing spiritually charged music after his death. Coltrane and Santana intersected at this time in their lives with a special interest in the spiritual traditions of the Indian subcontinent, having been separately involved with religious music through Christian churches earlier in life. Accordingly, a meditative chant kicks off the album, which sways back and forth with free jazz wanderings of guitar, harp, horns, violins, piano, and percussion. It finds its way to an energetic rock burst and meets with classical Indian stylings complete with tabla, winding its way down to a resolution.

The album is more typical of how Coltrane’s style would develop than Santana’s, as she would delve further into the world of experimental and spiritual free jazz during her career.

This album is available on vinyl in the Music Library LP nook, at call number JLP COLT-A ILL. LPs can be listened to at the Music Library with our own turntables and headphones, or can be checked out for one week to enjoy at home. If you’re interested in further explorations of her work, another album, Universal Consciousness, is right next door.

Happy listening,

Mike Romano, Music Circulation Assistant

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