Alice Coltrane - Journey In Satchidananda (Vinyl)

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Journey in Satchidananda is the fourth solo album by Alice Coltrane. Its title (and title track) reflects Coltrane's inspiration by Swami Satchidananda whom Coltrane had become close to while being his disciple.

"Shiva-Loka", or "realm of Shiva", refers to the realm of the third member of the Hindu trinity, the "dissolver of creation". "Stopover Bombay" refers to a five-week stay in India and Sri Lanka on which Coltrane was due to go in December 1970. "Something About John Coltrane" is based on themes by her late husband, John Coltrane. "Isis and Osiris", on which Charlie Haden replaces Cecil McBee on bass, and Vishnu Wood plays oud, indicates Coltrane's interest in Middle Eastern and North African music and culture. The presence of the tamboura, played by Tulsi, reflects Coltrane's interest in Indian classical music and religion.

The album features Pharoah Sanders on soprano saxophone and percussion.


One of the most basic elements in the spirit of Jazz music is it's passionate vibe. The importance of the rhythm section, the influence of the rooted crude Blues, and even the act of improvisation (which is actually a following the associative passion), are all causes for the passionate atmosphere which characterize Jazz music, and make it non-abstract, and even materialistic, compared to more spiritual and 'sublime' musical genres, like Classical Romantic music or Religous Music.

That's why Alice Coltrane's 'Journey in Satchidananda' seems Revolutionary to me. It succeed to create a spiritual, sublime Jazz, that combine elements of classic passionate Jazz- the plain bass riffs, the groovy percussion and saxophone soloes that mostly based on pentatonic Key- with thick layer of fascinating spiritual instruments- Harp, Bells, Tambura, Oud. The combination is amazing, and may be compared to George Harisson Raga Rock pieces.

The musical development through the songs is powerful. The two first tracks are soft, harmonic and almost religious atmosphere, and has a meditative effect. 'Stopover Bombay' and 'Something About John Coltrane' are much more dim and mysterious, have a dominant bass work and similar to John Coltrane's 'Love Supreme'. The Last track, Isis and Osiris, is psychedelic and has avant-garde characteristic. The saxophone flows from whispering to wild wailing, the percussion is Dionysian and Dynamic, The Oud and the Harp are hypnotizing and the result sounds like an ancient ritual.

Alice Coltrane is a creative and brave Harpist, and an effective pianist, but most of all she is a wonderful composer. 'Journey in Satchidananda' doesn't sound boring for a minute. I wish there were more courageous Jazz Albums like this masterpiece.

By: brutuslevi

A1 Journey In Satchidananda
A2 Shiva-Loka
A3 Stopover Bombay
B1 Something About John Coltrane
B2 Isis And Osiris

Bass – Cecil McBee (tracks: A1 to B1)
Bells, Tambourine – Majid Shabazz (tracks: A1 to B1)
Design – Wallace Caldwell
Drums – Rashied Ali
Engineer – Orville O'Brien, Roy Musgnug
Harp, Piano, Liner Notes, Composed By – Alice Coltrane