Thursday, July 28, 2011

Alice Coltrane Quote

The library at UNC got this book in recently, and I'm reading a chapter a day. It reads a bit like a dissertation (it may be just that) and has a wealth of incredible information about Alice Coltrane's life, music, impact. I'm about halfway through the book and found this incredible quote from her that I felt I needed to save here, because it is a perfect description of playing free music:

"Avant-Garde music to be is like journeying across the country until you come to as beautiful park. You say, "We'll stop here for just a moment." After a while you decide to go onward because you know of a nice area ahead, but before you leave, you see a lake that you didn't notice before, and you decide to stay and experience that for a while. Sometimes your moment is there like an eternity. This type of thing is quite prevalent in my music."


  1. I just listened to Charlie Haden's CLOSENESS duos record. The duo with Alice Coltrane on harp is hypnotic and beautiful. She clearly had a sense of time that is well-described by the quote you chose.

  2. I just read about how John Coltrane bought her her first harp, and that she didn't start playing it (I think) until after he died, and that she was self taught on it. I'm going to have to re-check out that record, I've been going through a pretty heavy Charlie Haden phase in the last year.