Composers Corner Podcast: 12. Alice Coltrane


March 21, 2016

Alice Coltrane, born McLeod, was an American jazz pianist, organist, harpist, and composer. One of the few harpists in the history of jazz, she recorded many albums as a bandleader, beginning in the late 1960s and early 1970s for Impulse! Records and Universal Distribution.

Alice collaborated and performed with Kenny Clarke, Kenny Burrell, Ornette Coleman, Pharaoh Sanders, Charlie Haden, Roy Haynes, Jack DeJonette and Carlos Santana amongst other musicians. Her twenty recordings cover a time span from Monastic Trio (1968) to Translinear Light (2004). Her last unreleased recorded work is Sacred Language of Ascension (2006).

She met and eventually married the legendary Jazz musician John Coltrane. Together they embarked on a deeply spiritual journey of musical exploration and forged a new genre of musical expression. Many people are unaware that Alice replaced McCoy Tyner as pianist with the John Coltrane quartet and continued to play and record with the band until John’s death on July 17, 1967.

Alice was left to raise their four small children, Michelle, John Jr, Ravi, and Oran. She then entered into a most significant time in her life. As a seeker of spiritual truth, she spent focused time in isolation, fasting, praying and meditating. In 1970 she met a guru, Swami Satchidananda. She traveled to India, and was divinely called into God's service. Alice dedicated her life to God and came to be known as Turiyasangitananda.

Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda became the Founder and Director of The Vedantic Center in 1975, and later established a spiritual community in the Santa Monica Mountains of Southern, California. She would orate discourses, and then play the organ to lead the members in devotional song for Sunday services. Spiritual guidance was always given without any mention of compensation.

Her writings include Monument Eternal, Divine Revelations, Endless Wisdom, a trilogy of three volumes inscribed as sacred texts received in her meditations. The booklet, Turiya Speaks, consists of five discourses. A.C. Turiyasangitananda, known as Swamini to many, left her physical form January 12, 2007. Her spiritual and musical legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of the people. The innovative, futuristic sound of the Coltrane musical heritage known around the world will always be revered.

''Roads are many, the destination one
Religious paths are many, Truth is one
The Lord’s Holy Names are many, yet God is One.''


  • Joe Henderson and Alice Coltrane

    Water (1974)

  • A Love Supreme (1972)

  • Atomic Peace (1968)

  • Paramahansa Lake (1969)

  • Hare Krishna (1971)

  • Isis And Osiris (1971)

  • Los Caballos (1975)

  • The Sun (1968)

  • Devadip Carlos Santana and Turiya Alice Coltrane

    Angel of Sunlight (1974)

  • Lovely Sky Boat (1968) + Devadip Carlos Santana and Turiya Alice Coltrane

    Ouru Sri Chinmop Aphorism (1974)

  • Battle At Armageddon (1971)

  • Mantra (1970)

  • Leo (2004)

  • Lord of Lords (1972)

  • Keshava Murahara (1987)

  • Sita Ram (2004)

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