About Alice • 16 January 2008

I was not kidding the other day. By the way. About Alice Coltrane.

Bebop piano as a child; a young life all in jazz; then an India Period that never really ended. She founded the Vedantic Center of Los Angeles and produced a modest discography of sharply blended, yet beautiful, new age/ jazz/ indian/ soul harp-sitar-tambourine. A brilliant life

And an anchor to many. Here is her grand-nephew talking:

For a long time it’s been difficult to come to terms with her death. She was such a big presence for all of us—she really held us together. But not we’re all readjusting and gradually finding it easier to talk about her again. Slowly, we’re starting to bring her up in conversations and telling stories about her again. When the time is right and everyone is comfortable just remembering her for the special person she was, I’ll finish [the documentary I am making about her]…. As far as my relationship with my art is concerned, though, we never really talked about music much. I mean, she knew what I was doing and she always expressed and interest, but really she was much more of a spiritual mentor to me, someone who gave me guidance and insight because that was always the biggest part of her own life.

Here is the truth about the way women are remembered, the way we are reviewed and recommended and talked about and seen: it’s about a woman’s associations. Her connectedness, her ability to facilitate transformation, to collaborate, to create togetherness. With a man, what is remembered is all drive and ego and accomplishment. I wish we’d memorialize more in the middle. Most of the obits of Alice lead with her husband, follow with her bandmates, and around paragraph seven get around to something about Alice herself. Embarrassing, that extremism. And yet Alice was one who contained traditions, who connected people. It’s good, after all, to be remembered as a goddess.

So I’ll mention that of course her appellate name came from being wed to John; and that the speaker above is Flying Lotus. Her grand-nephew and an hypercreative, synthetic Los Angeles hiphop artist who will soon be large. I like him very much, and love that his feel is all Alice in hip-hop. The quotation is from Wire magazine, Nov 07. (Owl-House subscriptions ceased upon advancement to PhD candidacy: The Economist, The London Review of Books, The Yoga Journal. Subscriptions maintained: Veneer Magazine, Wire, Namarupa.)

For Christmas, the One Who Will Not Be Named gave me transcendence. I mean Transcendence. I will check out the IP situation on this record and do a reader giveaway if it’s not robbing some trust or foundation. I shouldn’t be listening to this record alone, with so many transcendence-hungry, Culver City-loving, Vedantic-friendly, jazz-listening, covertly chanting, secretly sitar-loving people in this thread.

If I ask for your address, you’ll know why. Or maybe you should just begin now.