Alice Coltrane is the undeniable godmother of spiritual jazz and an acknowledged influence on everyone from Flying Lotus and Kamasi Washington to Solange and Radiohead. 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.
The original recording of these songs, Turiya Sings, was released exclusively on cassette in 1982 for the students of Alice's ashram. In addition to Alice's voice and organ, the recording included synthesizers, strings, and sound effects. In 2004, Alice'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.
Though known by many as the musical partner and wife of John Coltrane, Alice Coltrane is revered for her groundbreaking contributions to spiritual jazz with her legendary Impulse! recordings Journey In Satchidananda and Ptah, The El Daoud, among others. Throughout the 1970s, in addition to maintaining the busy schedule of a recording and touring artist, Alice Coltrane was immersing herself in Eastern philosophies, mythologies, and Vedic religious practices. By the early 1980s, she had become a guru and spiritual teacher and began to make music exclusively for her community at The Vedantic Center, northwest of Los Angeles.
These 1981 devotional recordings for voice and Wurlitzer, meant to guide meditation through chanting, offer an alternate version of the cosmic jazz visionary's synthesizer masterpiece, Turiya Sings... Like a great sacred text, the music of Kirtan: Turiya Sings is concentrated and rigorous, yet simple and full of ease. Like the original Turiya Sings, it's also a pleasure.
-Jenn Pelly, Pitchfork, Best New Reissue, Rated: 8.5