Week 4: Alice Coltrane "Walk With Me"
This week’s track is one of Alice Coltrane’s last studio tracks released. This track is filled with so much emotion. So common to Alice Coltrane’s well composed and restrained delivery. She takes her listener on an ageless exploration. Perhaps those conservative classical training habits are hard to break. I’ve heard too many dreadful stories about adolescent piano lessons, lol.
I met Ravi Coltrane for the first time sometime in the spring of 2004 at Portland’s Blue Monk. It was one of those intimate basement gigs that gave me an opportunity to show my love for his parents. I’d asked about his mother and when she was going to release something. Too my great surprise he’d said soon. In excitement and untactfulness, I responded “With what label?” I could tell it was perhaps a sore spot as with many jazz artists from a different era of studio recording. It was then I instantly remembered it was the late 70’s since she had released anything. In fact, I later looked through the vinyl and the last major label release was 1978 with Warner Brothers. Although, in true Trane humility and generosity, he answered “Impulse.”
With a lesson well learned, I waited patiently and little did I know it was a matter of months, later that fall Translinear Light was released? I remember taking my kids to school that morning and waiting for EM on Sandy to open, Lol. Yes, that’s how much I love Alice Coltrane and her contributions to jazz. Aside from being surprised her youngest son Oran Coltrane plays the alto saxophone on "The Hymn." I fell instantly in love with this week’s track. The traditional spiritual, “I want Jesus to walk with me” renamed “Walk with Me.” It is so musically and spiritually obvious her roots of playing in church but it is the lower eighty-eighty chord choice that I feel in love with. Followed by her signature flying across the keys removing the ivory, lol. As if she was sitting at her harp in a beautiful place!! For only a rhythm section on this track, I couldn’t imagine anything more. The talented Jeff "Tain" Watts on drums and James Genus on bass follow Alice’s lead as any nursing child would a mother! I really hope you all enjoy this track as much as I do! A well tested company to grief and happiness given to dinner guest, a priceless gem indeed!
I challenge any and all local musician(s) or vocalist(s) to perform this song on the Afrodaddy stage! It’ll be worth it! Part of Afrodaddy’s jazz footprint is too give preference to local jazz musicians and vocalist …so get ready to grind and make a path for the many greats you all will sit beside!!