Pianist,harpist,organist and composer Alice Coltrane was born on August 27, 1947 in Detroit, Michigan, and was born and raised in the religious family of Solon and Anne McLeod.
Alice became interested in music and began her study of the piano at the age of seven. She consistently and diligently practiced and studied classical music. Subsequently, she enrolled in a more advanced study of the music of Rachmaninoff, Beethoven, Stravinsky and Tschaikowsky.
She once said: "Classical music for me, was an extensive, technical study for many years. At that time, I discovered it to be a truly profound music with a highly intellectual ambiance. I will always appreciate it with a kind remembrance and great esteem. Subsequent to the completion of her studies, she said, "The classical artist must respectfully recreate the composer's meaning. Although, with jazz music, you are allowed to develop your own creativity, improvisation and expression. This greatly inspires me."
She graduated from high school with a scholarship to the Detroit Institute of Technology; however, her musical achievements began to echo throughout the city, to the extent that she played in many music halls, choirs and churches, for various occasions as weddings, funerals, and religious programs.
Her skills and abilities were highly enhanced when she began playing piano and organ for the gospel choir, and for the junior and senior choirs at her church. In later years, she would further her musical attributes by including organ, harp and synthesizer to her accomplishments.
After moving to New York in the early sixties, Alice met and married John Coltrane, the great creator of avant-garde music and genius and master of the tenor and soprano saxophones. His parents were very spiritual, and dedicated to service in the church in which his father faithfully served.After John Coltrane (Sr.)'s death she continued to play with her own groups, moving into more and more meditative music, and later playing with her children. She was one of the few harpists in the history of jazz. Her essential recordings were made in the late 1960s and early 1970s for Impulse Records.
Coltrane was a devotee of the Indian guru Sthya Sai Baba. In 1972, Alice moved to California, where she established the Vedantic Center in 1975. By the late 1970s she had changed her name to Turiyasangitananda. Coltrane 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. On rare occasions, she continued to perform publicly under the name Alice Coltrane.
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 Transliner Light. Following a twenty-five-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 in San Francisco with her son Ravi, drummer Roy Haynes, and bassist Charlie Haden.
Alice Coltrane died of respiratory failure at West Hills Hospital and Medical Center in suburban Los Angeles. She is buried alongside her late husband John Coltrane in Pinelawn Memorial Park, in New York.
The vision they shared became a bright effulgence from the lighthouse of polyphonic, ethereal, universal sound, bringing clarity and understanding of the music and enhancing appreciation of it to the people.
Reference - AAJ
Click to watch Alice playing "Love Supreme".