Alice Coltrane - A Monastic Trio LP
Label: Superior Viaduct
A Monastic Trio was Alice Coltrane's remarkable 1968 solo debut. Made in tribute to the life of her husband John Coltrane after his death the previous year, its arrival heralded an incredible new voice. Seemingly from this album, a new spiritual direction in jazz was set forth. Deeply personal and reverent, A Monastic Trio is marked by Coltrane's cascading and majestic turns on both piano and harp, with musical support from Pharoah Sanders, Rashied Ali, Jimmy Garrison and Ben Riley. The pieces burrow to the core of grief, delving into gospel and funereal blues forms while also using open Eastern musical influences to form ascending arcs of mystical transformative sound. While Coltrane had previously collaborated with her husband before he died, most notably on the epic Cosmic Music, her subsequent solo career after his death stood apart from his as she moved the focus away from his oft-frenzied and intense horn-led modalities. Her compositions bring a deeper dedication to a vital cosmic musical core where her harp, piano and organ flourishes could intermingle more fluently with the rhythm section into an organically flowing life-affirming musical unit. This is essential!