Rhapsody in Black

Alice Coltrane uses music to heal and find peace

Alice Coltrane is also known by her adopted Sanskrit name Turiyasangitananda.Chuck Stewart

Rhapsody in Black - Alice Coltrane


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March 09, 2023

Jazz pianist and harpist Alice Coltrane studied classical and gospel early on. Alice thought it was “truly profound music with highly intellectual ambiance.” But Jazz is where her passion is. She said, “Although, with jazz music, you can develop your creativity, improvisation and expression. This greatly inspires me."

She studied Jazz with Bud Powell in Paris. After that, she became a professional jazz musician performing in Detroit and eventually New York City. That’s where she met and married saxophonist John Coltrane. The two embarked on a journey of deep spiritual and musical exploration. After his passing, Alice turned to Hindu spiritual guidance, which has influenced her music since.

Musical arrangements from Alice Coltrane

Journey in Satchidananda

A transcendental fuse of modal experimental Jazz and Eastern spirituality, this work is inspired by the teachings of Swami Satchidananda. The track is best experienced with the rest of the pieces on the album carrying the same name.

Song of the Underground Railroad

This is Alice Coltrane’s performance of 'Song Of The Underground Railroad' at the international jazz music festival Jazz Jamboree in Warsaw, Poland, in 1987. Her late husband, John Coltrane, created the chart for the Africa/Brass album featuring the John Coltrane Quartet.

Krishna Krishna

Hank Shteamer from Rolling Stone said,

“Krisha Krishna” conjures a meditative blues feel reminiscent of Coltrane’s early classics like Journey and Ptah, the El Daoud. The combination of a warm bed of organs and the artist’s gently plaintive vocals gives the feel of a prayer offered up in private. Her Sanskrit lyrics praise Hindu deities (“O Krishna, victory to You,” her lines read in translation. “O Madhusudana, worshipable One/Who is the embodiment/Of divine love …”) and reflect her spiritually attuned mindset at the time.


Host: Vernon Neal

Producer: Dan Nass

Writers: Andrea Blain and Scott Blankenship

Additional music selections: Jeffrey Yelverton

Executive Producer: Julie Amacher