On the reissue of Coltrane's wildly eclectic Eternity, which originally brought her from Impulse! to Warner Bros in 1975, two tunes are lush horn-and-string-orchestra settings; two are meditative, Eastern-sounding pieces; the album is rounded off by her first use of vocals (on '0m Supreme'), and the percussion-heavy, rumba-esque 'Los Caballos'. All the tracks feature spiritual annotation and explanation. The legendary Charlie Hayden plays bass. Remastered and packaged in a digipak. Currently out-of-print in the U.S.
The two Impulse albums by Alice Coltrane presented on this single CD are actually the bookends of a trilogy, representing the artist's final recordings for the label. Universal Consciousness was recorded in three sessions in 1971 and released in 1972, and Lord of Lords, recorded in a single 1972 session, was released in 1973. The album between them is World Galaxy. Universal Consciousness utilized a small string section to augment its trio and quartet settings; by contrast, Lord of Lords emulated its immediate predecessor (World Galaxy) in employing a 16- piece string section behind the trio of Coltrane, bassist Charlie Haden, and drummer Ben Riley.
This is Alice Coltrane's first album as a leader, made a year after her husband's death. Even though you can tell that she was still developing her own style at this point, it is still a great record. The first 3 songs are especially good, I think; this is probably because of the additon of Pharoah Sanders. Alice is great with a trio, but she had incredible chemistry with Pharoah.
"Lord, Help Me To Be" is just classic. I really like Jimmy Garrison's bass playing on this one. He may not have been as technically developed as other bass players of his time, but he could really swing, which is something that other bass players sometimes lacked. "The Sun" is wonderful, too. It is basically a 4 minute Alice Coltrane solo in free rhythm, colored by bells and sparse bass. Although Pharoah is listed here, he is barely audible, playing flute in the left channel. The drums are very quiet as well. "Ohnedaruth" is a chant that the last John Coltrane group used to perform. It features a rare Pharoah Sanders solo on bass clarinet!
Lord of Lords, released in 1972, was Alice Coltrane's final album for Impulse! It was the final part of a trilogy that began with Universal Consciousness and continued with the expansive World Galaxy. Like its immediate predecessors, the album features a 16-piece string orchestra that Coltrane arranged and conducted, fronted by a trio in which she plays piano, Wurlitzer organ, harp, and timpani with bassist Charlie Haden and drummer Ben Riley. Riley was familiar with the setting because he had been part of the sessions for World Galaxy. The first two pieces, "Andromeda's Suffering" and "Sri Rama Ohnedaruth" (titled after the spiritual name for her late husband, John Coltrane), are, in essence, classical works. There is little improvisation except on the piano underneath the wall of strings. They are scored for large tone clusters and minor-key drone effects, but also engage in creating timbral overtones.
Universal Consciousness was the fifth solo album released by Alice Coltrane in 1971 on Impulse! Records. The Allmusic review by Thom Jurek awarded the album 4½ stars saying "This is art of the highest order, conceived by a brilliant mind, poetically presented in exquisite collaboration by divinely inspired musicians and humbly offered as a gift to listeners. It is a true masterpiece".
Journey in Satchidananda is the fourth solo album by Alice Coltrane. Its title (and title track) reflects Coltrane's inspiration by Swami Satchidananda, to whom she had become close, and whose disciple she was. "Shiva-Loka", or "realm of Shiva" — 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 music and religion.
Sometimes written off as an also-ran to her more famous husband, Alice Coltrane's work of the late '60s and early '70s shows that she was a strong composer and performer in her own right, with a unique ability to impregnate her music with spirituality and gentleness without losing its edges or depth. Ptah, The El Daoud is a truly great album, and listeners who surrender themselves to it emerge on the other side of its 46 minutes transformed. From the purifying catharsis of the first moments of the title track to the last moments of "Mantra," with its disjointed piano dance and passionate ribbons of tenor cast out into the universe, the album resonates with beauty, clarity, and emotion. Coltrane's piano solo on "Turiya and Ramakrishna" is a lush, melancholy, soothing blues, punctuated only by hushed bells and the sandy whisper of Ben Riley's drums and later exchanged for an equally emotive solo by bassist Ron Carter.
A Monastic Trio is the first solo album by Alice Coltrane. Recorded in 1968, she intended it to be a tribute to her husband, John Coltrane, who had died the year before. The Allmusic review by Thom Jurek awarded the album 4 stars stating "Musically, the works here move from the deep bluesy modal structures that Alice Coltrane so loved in John's repertoire… All of these works, with their deep Eastern tinges in the intervals juxtaposed against Western blues phrasing, are wondrously droning and emotional exercises".