13 June 2006

ALICE COLTRANE - WORLD GALAXY




Alice Coltrane had become a musical world unto herself by the time she issued World Galaxy, recorded in late 1971. With jazz-rock fusion taking over the mainstream and the terminal avant-garde heading over to Europe, Coltrane stubbornly forged an insistent, ever-evolving brand of spiritual jazz that bore her own signature as much as it did her late husband's influence. On the two days in November when World Galaxy was recorded, Coltrane chose drummer Ben Riley, bassist Reggie Workman, violinist Leroy Jenkins, saxophonist Frank Lowe, and timpanist Elayne Jones in addition to a string orchestra of 16 to help her realize her latest vision. Coltrane herself plays piano, harp, and organ on this date, sometimes within a single track, as she does on her glorious post-modal reworking of "My Favorite Things." This was a gutsy move, considering it was one of John Coltrane's signature tunes, but Alice has it firmly in hand as she moves from organ to harp to piano and back, turning the melody inside out wide enough for the strings to whip up an atmospheric texture that simultaneously evokes heaven and hell and skewers the original nature of the tune in favor of bent polyharmonics that allow the entire world of sound inside to play. The jazz modalism Coltrane presents on "Galaxy Around Olodumare" is quickly undone by Lowe in his solo and reconstructed into polyphony by the string section; it's remarkable. The harp work on "Galaxy in Turiya" (Alice's religious name) is among her most beautiful, creating her own wash of color and dynamic for the strings to fall like water from the sky into her mix. As colors shift and change, the rhythm section responds, and focuses them in the prism of Coltrane's textured harpistry. The album closes with another John Coltrane signature, "A Love Supreme," here given an out of this world treatment by the band with Jenkins playing full force through the middle of both channels. There is a narration by Coltrane's guru inside it, a poem really, spoken by the guru Satchidananda, which no doubt would have moved John Coltrane, but the real news is Alice's killer, funky breakbeat organ solo that covers the tune top to bottom in blues, in stark contrast to Jenkins' improvisation. This set may take some getting used to for some, but it's easily one of the strongest records Alice Coltrane ever released, and one of the finest moments in jazz from the early '70s.
This LP had a limited reissue in Japan on cd some time ago but it now seems to be out of print-this one is ripped from the original vinyl.

LINK IN COMMENTS

10 comments:

bacoso said...

http://rapidshare.de/files/22705538/World_Galaxy.rar.html

mayohumbert said...

Thanks, I haven't heard this since I had to give up my OG vinyl due to financial woes.
This completes my digital Alice collection.
Harlem River Drive is top shelf, too.

Cherokee Red said...

hey bacoso, i need to ask you a question or two via email. anyway I can do that?

my email is: anthonysneed@gmail.com thanks

Cherokee Red said...

hey bacoso, i need to ask you a question or two via email. anyway I can do that?

my email is: anthonysneed@gmail.com thanks

Cherokee Red said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
archigram said...

Thank you thank you!! I've been looking out for this!

Cary Grant said...

this is really far out! thankyou!

tom said...

total jazz novice here, but getting there slowly but surely. this site is a real help, thank you for everything that you do!

Friendlier said...

Oh, god, I've looked for this on CD for years. It is an absolute masterpiece (along with her "Lord of Lords" album). Thank you so much for letting me hear it again after so long. It's music for my soul.

Misael said...

Hey man, the link is down. I've been on an Alice high and wanted to check this out. Can you bless me with this link? Thanks friendo