Kevin LeGendre presents a portrait of musician and spiritual leader Alice Coltrane.
Exploring music, history, science, philosophy, film, visual arts and literature.
As part of Radio 3's programming for International Women's Day, Kevin Le Gendre presents a portrait of Alice Coltrane - pianist, harpist, composer, improviser, bandleader, and ultimately Vedantic spiritual leader. An extraordinary character and musician, she took an approach to life and to music that conceded no boundaries, and she deserves greater recognition.
Hearing testaments to her musicianship as well as her personal strength and powerful presence, Le Gendre asks why her music isn't more widely known. She was greatly influenced by her husband John Coltrane, but has her musical contribution been overshadowed by his legacy?
Drawing on a wide range of influences from gospel to Stravinsky to Indian devotional music, and most often identified as a jazz musician, her music pushes the boundaries and defies conventional categorization. Kevin speaks to some of those who knew her best, including her son, Ravi Coltrane, sister Marilyn McLeod, and collaborators Carlos Santana and Reggie Workman, about the woman behind this singular musical voice.
Alice Coltrane's legacy is still evolving. As a younger generation of artists discover her music through reissues, and recordings of her previously unreleased devotional music come into circulation, her influence continues to spread far beyond the realms of jazz music.
Producer Laura Yogasundram.