When Alice Coltrane retired from secular life in the early ’80s to devote herself fully to the Ashram she founded outside of L.A. (Sai Anantam Ashram), consensus was that her music making life was “on hold.” This didn’t prove entirely correct. Alice did fulfill her contractual obligations to Warner Bros. Records with Transfiguration in 1978 and didn’t release another commercially marketed album until 2004’s Translinear Light on Impulse! but turns out there wasn’t a big gap of nothing in between.
In researching Alice’s life for a class I taught recently, I stumbled upon information about a series of cassette-only releases Alice made between 1982 and 1995. These tapes, available only via her Ashram, were until recently extremely rare. Increased interest in Alice’s music though has led to their re-appearance on-line. Dublab posted a long essay and DJ mix of the sessions on their site and soon after the full tapes started appearing on YouTube:
The music is ridiculously beautiful, as far from jazz as one can get yet a through-line exists all the way back to Alice’s work with her husband. Alice’s voice is particularly hypnotizing:
The more one delves into Alice’s complete discography, the easier it is to ascertain her particular genius, one that fully assimilated the genius of her own late husband and refined it into something uniquely her own.