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  • Jazz Composer Alice Coltrane, Wife of John, Dies at 69

    Mon, 15 Jan 2007 09:32:14

    Jazz Composer Alice Coltrane, Wife of John, Dies at 69 - Widow of sax legend was an influential musician herself.

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    Alice Coltrane, a jazz composer who spent decades exploring and extolling Eastern spirituality, has passed away at the age of 69. Coltrane had been in poor health for a considerable time, and respiratory failure was cited as the cause of her death.

    While best known in most circles as the widow of iconic saxophonist John Coltrane -- she tended to his estate since his death, at age 40, in 1967 -- Alice Coltrane was an influential figure in jazz and New Age in her own right. Her signature instrument was a harp, which was a relative stranger to jazz; she also played piano and Wurlitzer organ. She played alongside her husband in his band, and also released a number of well-received solo albums, including Ptah the El Daoud. Since the '70s, Coltrane had also been a devout student of Eastern religions, going under the Sanskrit name Turiyasangitanada and releasing devotional books and albums -- including one volume, "Endless Wisdom," that featured scriptures which Coltrane said had been divinely dictated to her.

    In addition to Eastern spirituality, her husband remained constant as a defining influence in her musical pursuits. "Once I heard his sound, it just stayed in my mind and consciousness," she once said.

    Coltrane retreated into retirement from a public music career in 1978, settling on a 48-acre commune in Agoura Hills, CA. She reemerged in 2004 with what would be her final album, Translinear Light, and also played a handful of shows last year.

    Alice Coltrane is survived by daughter Michelle, who is a singer, and sons Ravi and Oren, who both play saxophone.

    --The ARTISTdirect Staff

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