Alice Coltrane – The Carnegie Hall Concert (Live) (2024) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Alice Coltrane – The Carnegie Hall Concert (Live) (2024)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:19:27 minutes | 1,74 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Alice Coltrane 1971 Carnegie

Kicking off what will be an Alice Coltrane year with more releases to come in the next 12 months, is a previously unreleased, killer live recording from 1971. Recorded live, by Impulse! at a charity gala given at Carnegie Hall for the benefit of the Integral Yoga Institute in 1971, this incredible set never saw commercial release until now. The gala concert was one of two halves with the first two transcendental tunes by Alice taken from the album she had just released on Impulse! and then two explosive tunes by her late husband John Coltrane. Naturally, à la Coltrane/Dolphy at the Gate, which picked up the recent Grammy nomination for Best Liner Notes, the package includes some knockout editorial, with essays by Lauren Du Graf and Alice’s producer Ed Michel.

The scene: Three percussionists (Ed Blackwell, Clifford Jarvis, Kumar Kramer), two saxophonists (Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp), two bassists (Jimmy Garrison, Cecil McBee), a vocalist (Tulsi Reynolds) and one bandleader, harpist Alice Coltrane, walk onto the Carnegie Hall stage and get set up with their instruments. It’s Feb. 23, 1971. They’ve got exactly 90 minutes to play on a curious bill that also includes folk singer Laura Nyro and rock band the Rascals. It’s Coltrane’s first Carnegie Hall performance as a bandleader. Her label, Impulse! Records, has set up recording gear to capture the set for potential release, hoping that Coltrane’s then-new album, Journey In Satchidananda, will do well enough on the market to warrant some sort of live record.

More than a half-century later, Impulse! has finally turned that Carnegie Hall recording into a double album, delivering a gift to spiritual jazz disciples drawn to Coltrane’s singularly exquisite work. The pianist-harpist-composer’s legacy has only grown since her 2007 passing, and as such The Carnegie Hall Concert feels like a gift from the aether, one that drifts in as her octet eases into opening song “Journey In Satchidananda” and Coltrane introduces her instrument with a luxurious glissando. Over the next hour, they work their way through three other pieces: Her “Shiva-Loka” (also from Journey to Satchidananda) and a pair, “Africa,” and “Leo,” by her late husband John, who had died four years earlier.

Like the concert’s opening piece, “Shiva Loka” is a hypnotic meditation extending nearly 15 minutes, and it allows Coltrane and her eight, especially her longtime bandmates Sanders and McBee, to explore. McBee and Garrison twist through the low end, one using a moaning bow and the other plucking out a repetitive line.

As the nine players progress, the band’s sound deepens and expands. The bassists tangle in and around the three locked-in percussionists. Horn players Sanders and Shepp, both also part of the Impulse! roster, weave and converse in a musical call and response. Those first two songs seem to swirl around the hall, calm on the surface but churning with understated tension.

That atmosphere shifts on “Africa,” which begins with an extended percussion explosion, dueling saxophonists and Coltrane pounding out melodic chords on the piano. When Garrison moves into a looping bass line about 10 minutes in, the song, which he recorded on John Coltrane’s Africa/Brass album as part of the tenor player’s quartet, takes flight.

The most memorable are the moments when all eight are unified by the mystical force that is music and create a precisely rendered kind of chaotic beauty. Often these awe-inspiring parts occur in the liminal space between solos, as if looking for purchase and order. The mere existence of The Carnegie Hall Concert suggests a similar pattern writ large: an untethered, dormant recording from 50-plus years ago drifts into the present and rolls into the cultural groove as if preordained. – Randall Roberts

1-01. Alice Coltrane – Journey In Satchidananda (Live) (15:02)
1-02. Alice Coltrane – Shiva-Loka (Live) (14:40)
1-03. Alice Coltrane – Africa (Live) (28:09)
1-04. Alice Coltrane – Leo (Live) (21:34)


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