Alice Coltrane year-long celebration of trailblazer's legacy launches today

Article Contributed by Big Feat PR | Published on Thursday, February 22, 2024

Today, The John & Alice Coltrane Home and the Coltrane Family, in partnership with Impulse! Records, Detroit Jazz Festival, Hammer Museum, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, The New York Historical Society, and many more, have declared 2024-2025 to be THE YEAR OF ALICE, celebrating the extensive life work of spiritual leader, composer, and musician Alice Coltrane.

Alice Coltrane’s pioneering and trailblazing career has changed the course of history. She forged masterful creative works, created music that beams universal love and spirituality to anyone that is listening, and laid the groundwork for musicians for years to come to do the same. She was prolific in her creation, with iconic works that include Journey In Satchidananda (one of Rolling Stone’s 500 greatest albums), A Monastic Trio, Universal Consciousness, Ptah, the El Daoud, and continued creating music when she started her ashram in California – music from that time would later be released to critical acclaim. Beyond her recorded output (elegantly explored in The New York Times’ Five Minutes That Will Make You Love Alice Coltrane), Coltrane was a beloved and wise spiritual leader, a pragmatic person with a keen eye for business, and a deeply giving human, who emphasized the importance of charitable giving, education, and spiritual guidance.

To honor her legacy, 2024 and 2025 will see a slew of tributary music events, programming, concert series, music releases and more to celebrate the life and legacy of Alice Coltrane.

Michelle Coltrane, daughter of Alice Coltrane, says: “The Coltrane family & The Coltrane Home organization present ‘The Year of Alice’ through tributary music events, spiritual, educational programming and more. We are honored and delighted to offer insight into the legacy of my mother… Alice, Turiya Coltrane. My mother engaged herself in the spiritual process known as God-realization. Her life on earth consolidated artistic expression, spiritual principles, and charitable giving. She emphasized selfless service that uplifted the giver as well as  recipients of the giving. She understood well the relevance of all life in terms of universal consciousness.”

Ravi Coltrane, son of Alice Coltrane, says: “Alice was ahead of her time, one of the first people to move outside the mainstream, and certainly one of the first female, black, American jazz musicians to record her own music in her own studio, and to release music on her own terms. There is something to be said about timing. It can take a moment for people to recognize where the energies are, where the weight is...  But now people across all generations are finding their way to Alice's music in a myriad of different ways. It's hard to pinpoint what makes her music so powerful,  but there's something in her spirit , in her intention that is very clear - and people can feel that immediately.”

Brent Leggs, executive director of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund and SVP of the National Trust for Historic Preservation says, “Alice Coltrane’s boundless creativity and immense talent are a testament to the transformative power of music. Her dedication to uplifting marginalized communities has been an inspiration to millions of people across the globe. The African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund is proud to work alongside the Coltrane family and other local organizations to preserve the John and Alice Coltrane Home, a sacred sanctuary where Alice’s work can inspire future generations to create art and seek beauty in their own lives.”

In celebration of the enduring legacy of Alice Coltrane, THE YEAR OF ALICE presents a series of initiatives, detailed below:

On March 22, Impulse! will release Alice Coltrane - The Carnegie Hall Concert, a captivating performance recorded in 1971, which marked Coltrane’s first show as a leader at Carnegie Hall and features an all-star lineup including Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp, Jimmy Garrison, Cecil McBee and Ed Blackwell, among others. Listen to “Shiva-Loka” out now. In June, UMe/Verve will re-release A Monastic Trio, the first solo album from Alice Coltrane originally released and recorded in 1968 in her studio at The John & Alice Coltrane Home. A third Impulse! release will be announced later this year, for release during the holiday season.

Michelle Coltrane, vocalist and daughter of Alice Coltrane, and rising star harpist Brandee Younger, have joined forces for An Oral History of Alice Coltrane. This program is part panel and performance, and will feature oral histories and biographical stories about Alice Coltrane from her daughter, inter-weaved with performance and demonstrations from Brandee to bring the stories to life. An Oral History of Alice Coltrane will be presented at universities, colleges and museums across the country.

Dates are currently being set at the Center for Women’s History at the New York Historical Society, Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, Oberlin, University of Michigan, and more to follow.

Brandee Younger says, “It is my honor to be a part of Year Of Alice and to pay tribute to the pianist and organist; harpist, vocalist; composer and author; Alice Coltrane, also known as Swamini Turiyasangitananda. Her musical & spiritual journey helped define and shape a life and an entire musical genre. Spiritual, meditative, cathartic, exciting, transformative, transcendental, soulful & Black.”

In 1967, John Coltrane gifted a harp to Alice, which arrived at her doorstep shortly after his passing. This was Alice’s first harp – she had never played the instrument before – and the harp on which she recorded her seminal works, including Journey In Satchidananda, A Monastic Trio and countless others.

This year, Lyon & Healy, renowned Chicago-based instrument manufacturer, are restoring Alice’s harp to peak performance condition, after which it will be on loan to Brandee Younger from the Coltrane Family. Special performances will feature Brandee and Alice’s harp throughout the year.

Detroit, New York and Los Angeles are three cities that have deep importance and historical relevance in the life of Alice Coltrane – marking her early life surrounded by the gospel churches of Detroit, her New York life with John Coltrane and start of her musical career, and her time in California when she founded her ashram and continued her spiritual journey.

On Labor Day weekend of 2024, the Detroit Jazz Festival will present an ambitious musical event on the opening night of their season, curated by Ravi Coltrane, featuring some of Ravi’s closest musical associates, as well as string players culled from local orchestras including the Detroit Symphony. This is a world premiere performance and the first time Ravi Coltrane has undertaken a project of this magnitude, in service to his mother’s work, and will be the first concert of the YEAR OF ALICE. More details will be announced on April 10 during the livestreamed 2024 Detroit Jazz Festival Preview Event.

“To truly honor and celebrate the artists who have left an indelible mark on history, especially someone as deep as our Detroit sister Alice Coltrane, we must develop an accurate understanding of the gifts they left behind and build on those gifts with new perspectives, generations and artistry,” says Chris Collins, president and artistic director of the Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation. “For 45 years the Detroit Jazz Festival has sought to propagate the living breathing jazz legacy and the artists as agents of inspiration. We are very proud to work with the Coltrane house and the Coltrane family to rediscover Alice’s music from the source and present a world premiere that brings her voice to new generations and embodies her legacy of challenging boundaries, evolving the art and inspiring all of us to new heights.”

In New York and Los Angeles, large-scale concerts curated by Ravi Coltrane are being developed for 2025. More details to be announced.

During the 2024-2025 season, the famed Alonzo King LINES Ballet company of San Francisco, will present two world premiere dance works, choreographed by famed founder Alonzo King. The first is to Coltrane’s 1971 iconic album Journey In Satchidananda, and the second will be choreographed to a brand new world premiere work by Ravi Coltrane, inspired by his mother.

“The music of Alice Coltrane was inspiration for some of my earliest choreographic works,” says Alonzo King, founder of the Alonzo King LINES Ballet company. “Her transcendent music is a world that I had dreamed of and had at last found.  Its inspiration is unending. I’m so looking forward to working with Ravi Coltrane on this creation.”

THE JOHN & ALICE COLTRANE HOME: First-Ever Community Programming in Brooklyn
This year, The John & Alice Coltrane Home will present their first-ever community programming in Brooklyn, New York, bringing lectures, performances and more – in addition to the Dix Hills on Long Island programming – to ShapeShifter Plus, in partnership with the School For Improvisational Music.

The first event of this series will be a listening party and conversation with Ravi Coltrane and Reggie Workman around Alice Coltrane’s album Transfiguration and will take place at ShapeShifter Plus this spring. More programming to be announced.

In early 2025, the Hammer Museum at UCLA will host an Alice Coltrane-inspired exhibit – featuring 10,000 square feet of multimedia artistic contributions, including architectural installations and works from new artists, all  inspired by Coltrane’s creative legacy.

In 1977, Alice Coltrane-Turiyasangitananda published Monument Eternal, a devotional text and autobiography that traced and chronicled her spiritual evolution and philosophies of wisdom. There are plans in the works for a re-release of Monument Eternal.

Additionally – a yet unreleased devotional literary work from Coltrane entitled Endless Wisdom III will see the light of day.

More information to be announced.