Alice Coltrane Translinear Light

Take it or leave it, Alice Coltrane will forever be known as John’s wife. It’s the Yoko Ono complex, I suppose, but there is one simple difference between these two widows: Alice actually has talent. While she released a number of memorable releases during the early ’70s on Impulse, at the tail end of that decade, she decided to withdraw from music. Translinear Light marks Alice’s glorious return to the recording studio. For this record, she decided to assemble an all-star cast. Along with her sons, saxophonists Ravi and Oran Coltrane, she is also joined by bassists Charlie Haden and James Genus, and drummers Jack DeJohnette and Jeff "Tain” Watts. The results are impressive to say the least. Some of the most enjoyable sections are the ones where Alice trades in her piano for a Wurlitzer organ and synth, as she does on "This Train”. Her take on John’s "Crescent” is fairly standard, while her interpretation of "Leo” — with the two percussionist attack of DeJohnette and Watts (each man trying to outdo the other) — takes this piece to new levels. Translinear Light is not a throw-back record that wishes one was back in the ’60s. Rather, it’s a fresh face of an artist who is refusing to shed her uncompromising vision. (Impulse)