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 Thursday, 17 April 2014
Alice Cotrane Dies at 69 Print E-mail
Written by Ronaldo Oregano   
Monday, 15 January 2007
Image “Once John and I were coming from a concert that he had played out here in California and it was late in the morning—we got out at daybreak. We heard a couple leaving, and the lady said, ‘I have to hurry home because I'm going to church.’ Her companion said, ‘Church? You've already been to church!’ ” - Alice Coltrane from a JazzTimes interview by Ashley Kahn.

The jazz pianist, organist, harpist, and composer Alice Coltrane died of respiratory failure at West Hills Hospital and Medical Center in suburban Los Angeles on January 12, 2007. Reportedly she had been in frail health for some time prior to her death. She was the widow of John Coltrane and she played piano with him from 1965 until his death in 1967. In the early 1970s, after years of devotion to Eastern religion, Alice took the name Swamini Turiyasangitananda. She continued to perform under the name Alice Coltrane.

Alice Coltrane was born Alice McLeod in Detroit, Michigan on August 27, 1937, Coltrane studied classical music, starting piano at the age of 7. She traveled to Paris in 1959 to study with Bud Powell. From 1962 to 1963 she played with Terry Gibbs' quartet, during which time she met John Coltrane. She played piano with his group from 1965 until his death in 1967. She had married him in 1966 and they had three children: drummer John Jr., and saxophonists Oran and Ravi. John Jr. died in a car crash in 1982.

Some critics blamed the influence of Alice Coltrane for John's immersion in the avant-garde and the break-up of his quartet. For much of the last nearly 40 years, she was the keeper of John Coltrane's musical legacy, managing his archive and estate. Her husband died of liver disease July 17, 1967, at the age of 40.

After her husband's death she continued to play with her own groups, moving into meditative music. Following a 25-year hiatus from major public performances, she returned to the stage for three US appearances in the fall of 2006, culminating with a concert in San Francisco on November 4th with her son Ravi, drummer Roy Haynes and bassist Charlie Haden.


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