Deep Dive: Alice Coltrane, ETERNITY

Tuesday, August 27, 2019
Alice Coltrane ETERNITY Album Cover

Today we celebrate the birthday of the late Alice Coltrane, and we do so by taking a look back at her first album for Warner Brothers.

Produced by Ed Michel, ETERNITY found Coltrane making the jump to WB after eight albums for Impulse! Records, and when she did so, she didn’t skimp on the creativity, releasing an LP which offered a blend of Indian music, gospel, R&B, and modern classical music, including an adaptation of Igor Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring.” In other words, when wrote that Coltrane had “the ability to open up her own sonic vocabulary and seamlessly create an ensemble context for to deliver an unpredictable expression of her vision of harmonic convergence,” they weren’t just whistling “Dixie.”

In her article “Appropriating Universality: The Coltranes and 1960s Spirituality,” author Franya Berkman explained, “In 1976, Alice Coltrane had a mystical experience in which she received divine instruction to renounce the world and don the orange robes of a swami, or spiritual teacher, in the Hindu tradition.” As a result, wrote Berkman, “the experience of her spiritual awakening could no longer be contained within the timbral palette of the jazz rhythm section, even at the latter’s most expressive and avant-garde extremes. She began to explore the combined potential of rhythm section, orchestral strings, tambura, harp, piano, percussion, and her newfound improvisational vehicle, the electric organ.”

It's fair to say that ETERNITY is a prime example of this.

In closing, it should also be noted that described ETERNITY as “an enduring recording that was far ahead of its time in 1976 and is only now getting the recognition it deserves.” So you’d better recognize!


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