1/ Andromeda's Suffering (Coltrane) 9.26 2/ Sri Rama Ohnedaruth (Coltrane) 6.14 3/ Excerpts from The Firebird (Stravinsky) 5.42 4/ Lord Of Lords (Coltrane) 11.19 5/ Going Home (Traditional) 10.30 Recorded and mixed at The Village Recorder, Losa Angeles, July 5-13, 1972 Engineered by Baker Bigsby Produced by Ed Michel under the direction and inspiration of Alice ColtraneAlice Coltrane: harp, piano, organ, tympani, percussion; Charlie Haden: bass; Ben Riley: drums, percussion; STRING ORCHESTRA - Murray Adler (concertmaster), Nathan Kaproff, Lou Klass, William Henderson, Ronald Folsom, Leonard Malarsky, Gordon Marron, Janice Gower, Gerald Vinci, Sidney Sharp, James Getzoff and Bernard Kundell: violins; Myra Kestenbaum, Rollice Dale, Leonard Selic, David Schwartz, Samuel Boghosian and Marilyn Baker: violas; Jesse Ehrlich, Jerry Kessler, Jan Kelly, Anne Goodman, Edgar Lustgarten, Ray Kelley and Raphael Kramer: cellos.
Music arranged and conducted by Alice Coltrane.
1972 - Coltrane Records/Impulse!/ABC (USA), AS-9224 (Vinyl) 2005 - Impulse!/Universal (Japan), AS-9224 (CD) 2011 - Impulse!/Verve/Universal (USA), 06007 6334726 (CD)Note: The 2011 edition is part of Impulse!'s "2-on-1" series, containing the complete "Universal Consciousness" as well.
Riley and Haden appear in earnest on the title track, a long modal piece where drones, rhythms, and time signatures are registered through the direction of Coltrane's piano and harp, creating a blissful kind of tension and dynamic. It cracks open at about six minutes, and Coltrane (on the organ), Haden, and Riley engage in some lively improvisation, with the strings offering trilling high-end swooping in the background. The set ends with Coltrane's transformation of a gospel hymn called "Going Home." Her harp introduces Riley's brushes and the strings, which in turn offer a root chord for her to play the melody and improvise upon it on the organ. Here the blues make their presence known. It offers a kind of understanding for the listener that Coltrane, no matter where this musical direction was headed (even as it went further toward the Cosmic Music she and her late husband envisioned together), continued to understand perfectly where her musical root was. The interplay between the three principals is lively and engaging, based on droning blues chords, and her soloing -- even amid flurries of notes -- comes right back to the root, and she quotes quite directly from Delta blues riffs and other gospel songs. Haden's bass is a beautiful anchor here (although mixed a bit low), and the strings offer a lovely response to her organ and harp. Riley's cymbals are shimmering shards of light throughout, ending Lord of Lords on a very high note. While it's true that Alice Coltrane's later Impulse! music may not be for everyone, even those who followed her earlier, more jazz-oriented recordings on Impulse!, it was obvious from the beginning that she was seeking to incorporate Indian classical music's drone center into her work, and was literally obsessed with the timbral, chromatic, and harmonic possibilities of strings. She succeeds here, in ending her Impulse! period with elegance, grace, and soul.
Thom Jurek (courtesy of the All Music Guide website)