Album Review

Coltrane, Alice – “Transfiguration” – [Warner Bros.]

Thee Opinataur   5/9/2012   12-inch, A Library

Recorded at Shoenberg Hall, UCLA in 1978, this double 12″ Album features Alice Coltrane on Piano and organ, Reggie Workman, Bass and Roy Haynes on drums. Quoting Alice Coltrane, Transfiguration transforms every musical statement from a mere expression of one’s mental prowess and music capabilities in an offering of love to God. This opening track sets the tone for the rest of the album as she manipulates the keys on her Wurlitzer into an intriguing and very listenable sound definitely inspired by her immersion into East Indian Spirituality. A2 ‘One for the Father’ is dedicated to her late husband John with sweet, passionate and personable piano play evoking her deep love. B1 ‘Prema’ The classically trained Coltrane evokes hints of Rachmaninoff and Stravinsky in this beautiful lush reflective piece accompanied by a string orchestra which was added post production. B2 ‘Affinity’ she is back on organ with an improvisational yet a repetitive often tone. C2 ‘Leo’ part 1 by far begins the highlight and dramatic conclusion to this concert. Workman manipulates his bass into eastern influenced sounds you would swear he was playing an oud or sitar at times during his extended solo. Leo continues in part 2 on D1 with drummer Roy Haynes drum solo equally as masterful as Workman’s implementing his full arsenal for a full 5 minutes. The remainder is filled with Coltrane’s frenetic organ play leaving no key black nor white untouched and maximizing each tone. All three are at their finest here in this finale with never a moment of rest, the momentum continuing for what seems like an eternity and climaxing in a satisfying achievement all their own. With all due respect to John Coltrane’s Leo, this version was something brand new and fresh which I’m certain he would have approved.

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