Narrated by playwright, journalist, novelist, poet, and screenwriter, Thulani Davis and animated by BASA, the film is a brightly-colored ode to one of the most brilliant musicians of the 20th century, and an integral part of the Impulse! Records mission.
Says Davis in the film, “Alice Coltrane was a jazz instrumentalist of the highest order. She shared her talents as a multi-instrumentalist who excelled on piano, organ, and harp; as a visionary composer who fused a world of sounds into a unique, global musical language; as an African-American woman who assumed a leading role in jazz and Eastern spirituality, guiding followers with her music, spirit, and devotional message.”
This summer, the world finally heard an intimate, spiritual recording made by the godmother of spiritual jazz, Alice Coltrane. Recorded in 1981 and never shared in this form with the world at large, Kirtan: Turiya Sings is a stunning collection of nine devotional songs, featuring the never-before-heard combination of Alice Coltrane’s voice and organ. Kirtan: Turiya Sings was released July 16 on Impulse! Records/UMe, as part of the legendary label’s 60th anniversary celebration.
The original recording of these songs, Turiya Sings, was released exclusively on cassette in 1982 for the students of the ashram. In addition to Coltrane’s voice and organ, the recording included synthesizers, strings, and sound effects. In 2004, Coltrane’s son and producer of this record, Ravi Coltrane, found mixes he’d never heard before of just Alice’s voice and her Wurlitzer organ. He knew this is what the world had to hear.
“In this setting I felt the greatest sense of her passion, devotion and exaltation in singing these songs in praise of the Supreme. In that moment, I knew people needed to hear Turiya Sings in this context.” Ravi continues, “as her son, growing up and hearing her playing these songs on the very same Wurlitzer you hear on this recording, I recognize this choice maintains the purity and essence of Alice’s musical and spiritual vision. In many ways, this new clarity brings these chants to an even higher place.”