Universal Consciousness/Lord of Lords

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
The two Impulse albums by Alice Coltrane presented on this single CD are actually the bookends of a trilogy, representing the artist's final recordings for the label. Universal Consciousness was recorded in three sessions in 1971 and released in 1972, and Lord of Lords, recorded in a single 1972 session, was released in 1973. The album between them is World Galaxy. Universal Consciousness utilized a small string section to augment its trio and quartet settings; by contrast, Lord of Lords emulated its immediate predecessor (World Galaxy) in employing a 16- piece string section behind the trio of Coltrane, bassist Charlie Haden, and drummer Ben Riley. The former album features...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
The two Impulse albums by Alice Coltrane presented on this single CD are actually the bookends of a trilogy, representing the artist's final recordings for the label. Universal Consciousness was recorded in three sessions in 1971 and released in 1972, and Lord of Lords, recorded in a single 1972 session, was released in 1973. The album between them is World Galaxy. Universal Consciousness utilized a small string section to augment its trio and quartet settings; by contrast, Lord of Lords emulated its immediate predecessor (World Galaxy) in employing a 16- piece string section behind the trio of Coltrane, bassist Charlie Haden, and drummer Ben Riley. The former album features bassist Jimmy Garrison on four of its six tracks, and drummer Jack DeJohnette on three. Rashied Ali assists on two others; Clifford Jarvis plays with DeJohnette on "Hare Krishna" and holds down the kit himself on "Sita Ram." Coltrane plays organ and harp on both recordings, and adds her piano and percussion to the mix on Lord of Lords. Even with World Galaxy missing form this trilogy, the listener gets the picture. UC reveals the beginning of Coltrane's string work in earnest, and its ultimate fruition on LOL. An elaborate tension between improvisation and composition -- with sometimes jarring juxtapositions -- makes both albums sound ahead of their time even in the 21st century. The opening title track of UC, with its interplay between violins and Garrison's arco work, is texturally expanded by DeJohnette's triple-timed breaks, rolling fills, and accents, as Coltrane employs her organ to maximize the free play available within a given (Eastern) mode. "Oh Allah" brings jazz firmly back into the picture with its lilting melody and her pulsing, minimal chord changes amid the Wurlitzer's more futuristic tones. Here, the strings act as a bridge and an anchor to the jazz lineage. The traditional Hindu tunes, "Hare Krishna" and Sita Ram," are droning exercises in the sublime. The latter album is knottier, with Coltrane, Riley, and Haden playing off one another intuitively on "Andromeda's Suffering" and its dramatic string section flares. The haunting and beautiful adaptation from Stravinsky ("Excerpts from the Firebird") reveals a startling union between Eastern and Western classical musics. The title track is a fiery yet restrained free piece with scripted sections for strings, while the closing "Going Home" brings the blues to the fore inside Hindustani drones and the dynamic harmonic palette of Western jazz. Taken as a whole, these two albums offer a thoroughly engaging and edifying listening experience, and the price can't be beat.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/26/2011
  • Label: Impulse Records
  • UPC: 600753347263
  • Catalog Number: 5334726
  • Sales rank: 76,174

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Alice Coltrane Primary Artist, Organ, Percussion, Piano, Conductor, Harp
Ray Kelley Cello
Rashied Ali Drums, Wind Chimes
Jack DeJohnette Drums
Leroy Jenkins Violin
John Blair Violin
Marilyn Baker Viola
Jimmy Garrison Bass
Clifford Jarvis Percussion, Drums, Bells
Ben Riley Percussion, Drums
Murray Adler Violin, Concert Master
Rollice Dale Viola
Jesse Ehrlich Cello
Ronald Folsom Violin
James Getzoff Violin
Anne Goodman Cello
Janice Gower Violin
Charlie Haden Bass
Joan Kalisch Violin
Nathan Kaproff Violin
Myra Kestenbaum Viola
Jerry Kessler Cello
Lou Klass Violin
Raphael Kramer Cello
Bernard Kundell Violin
Edgar Lustgarten Cello
Leonard Malarsky Violin
David Schwartz Viola
Leonard Selic Viola
Gerald Vinci Violin
Julius Brand Violin
Jan Kelly Cello
William Henderson Violin
Sidney Sharp Violin
Gordon Marron Violin
Samuel Boghosian Viola
Technical Credits
Igor Stravinsky Composer
Alice Coltrane Composer, Director, Producer, String Arrangements, Orchestral Arrangements, Inspiration
Tony May Engineer
Ed Michel Producer
Carlos Santana Composer
Traditional Composer
Roy Musgnug Engineer
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