Alice Coltrane

Alice Coltrane

Alice Coltrane in 2006
Background information
Birth name Alice McLeod
Born (1937-08-27)August 27, 1937
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Died January 12, 2007(2007-01-12) (aged 69)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Musician, bandleader, composer
Instruments Piano, organ, harp, vocals
Years active 19622006
Labels Impulse!, Columbia, Warner Bros.
Associated acts John Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, Carlos Santana
Website Official website

Alice Coltrane (née McLeod, August 27, 1937 – January 12, 2007), also known by her adopted Sanskrit name Turiyasangitananda or Turiya Alice Coltrane, was an American jazz pianist, organist, harpist, singer, composer, swamini, and the second wife of jazz saxophonist and composer John Coltrane. One of the few harpists in the history of jazz, she recorded many albums as a bandleader, beginning in the late 1960s and early 1970s for Impulse! Records and Universal Distribution.[1]


Born in Detroit, Michigan, Alice McLeod studied classical music, and also jazz with Bud Powell in Paris, where she worked as the intermission pianist at the Blue Note Jazz Club in 1960. It was there that she was broadcast on French television in a performance with Lucky Thompson, Pierre Michelot and Kenny Clarke.[2] She began playing jazz as a professional in Detroit, with her own trio and as a duo with vibist Terry Pollard. She married Kenny "Pancho" Hagood in 1960 and had a daughter with him.[3] In 1962–63 she played with Terry Gibbs's quartet, during which time she met John Coltrane. In 1965 they were married in Juárez, Mexico. John Coltrane became stepfather to Alice's daughter Michele and the couple had three children: John Jr. (1964–1982), a drummer; Oranyan (b. 1967), a DJ who played saxophone with Santana for a period of time; and Ravi (born 1965), a saxophonist.

In January 1966 she replaced McCoy Tyner as pianist with John Coltrane's group. She subsequently recorded with him and continued playing with the band until his death on July 17, 1967. After her husband's death she continued to play with her own groups, later including her children, moving into progressively more meditative music.

Coltrane was a devotee of the Indian guru Sathya Sai Baba.[4] In 1972, she moved to California, where she established the Vedantic Center in 1975.[5] By the late 1970s she had changed her name to Turiyasangitananda.[6] She was the spiritual director, or swamini, of Shanti Anantam Ashram (later renamed Sai Anantam Ashram in Chumash Pradesh) which the Vedantic Center established in 1983 near Malibu, California.[7] On rare occasions, she continued to perform publicly under the name Alice Coltrane.[1][8]

The 1990s saw renewed interest in her work, which led to the release of the compilation Astral Meditations, and in 2004 she released her comeback album Translinear Light. Following a 25-year break from major public performances, she returned to the stage for three U.S. appearances in the fall of 2006, culminating on November 4 with a concert for the San Francisco Jazz Festival with her son Ravi, drummer Roy Haynes, and bassist Charlie Haden.[8]

Alice Coltrane died of respiratory failure at West Hills Hospital and Medical Center in suburban Los Angeles in 2007, aged 69.[9] She is buried alongside John Coltrane in Pinelawn Memorial Park, Farmingdale, Suffolk County, New York.


Paul Weller dedicated his song "Song For Alice (Dedicated to the Beautiful Legacy of Mrs. Coltrane)", from his 2008 album 22 Dreams, to Coltrane; the track entitled "Alice" on Sunn O)))'s 2009 album Monoliths & Dimensions was similarly inspired. Electronic musician Flying Lotus is the grand-nephew of Alice Coltrane.[10] The song "That Alice" on Laura Veirs' album Warp and Weft is about Coltrane.[11]


As leader

As sidewoman

With John Coltrane

With Terry Gibbs

With Charlie Haden

With Joe Henderson

With McCoy Tyner

With various

See also


  1. 1 2 Chris Kelsey. Alice Coltrane Biography at AllMusic
  2. "The Lucky Thompson Discography 1957–1974". Retrieved February 17, 2011.
  3. Voce, Steve (16 January 2007). "Alice Coltrane – Obituaries". The Independent. Archived from the original on December 24, 2012. Retrieved October 9, 2015.
  4. "Swamini A. C. Turiyasangitananda". Sai Anantam Ashram. Archived from the original on May 21, 2007. Retrieved June 9, 2007.
  5. Hazell, Ed (2002). "Alice Coltrane". In Kernfeld, B. The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz. i. London: Macmillan. p. 494.
  6. Transfiguration (CD liner notes). Coltrane, Alice. Burbank, California: Sepiatone. 1978. STONE01. Coltrane wrote the liner notes as Turiyasangitananda. She had written liner notes as Turiya Aparna for Universal Consciousness (1971).
  7. "Background". Sai Anantam Ashram. Archived from the original on May 21, 2007. Retrieved June 9, 2007.
  8. 1 2 "Alice Coltrane Quartet featuring Ravi Coltrane with Charlie Haden & Roy Haynes". SFJAZZ. Archived from the original on December 10, 2008. Retrieved May 25, 2007.
  9. Ratliff, Ben (January 15, 2007). "Alice Coltrane, Jazz Artist and Spiritual Leader, Dies at 69". The New York Times. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  10. Chris Martins, "Flying Lotus Rising", LA Weekly, May 13, 2010.
  11. Gill, Andy (August 16, 2013). "Album review: Laura Veirs, Warp and Weft (Bella Union)". The Independent. Retrieved September 24, 2013.

External links

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