Radha-Krsna Nama Sankirtana
was issued in the mid-'70s by Warner Bros. Forgoing jazz altogether, this set is a series of devotional songs from the Hare Krisha religion that Alice Coltrane
practiced. Three of the tracks here are chants, with Coltrane
backing a vocal chorus on Fender Rhodes and organ. They are memorable, catchy, and moving given the joy of the singers. The other two tracks here feature Coltrane
's interpretations of Indian songs. On "Ganesha," she plays harp and is accompanied only by Sita Coltrane
on tamboura. This is not jazz in any sense of the word, but it is engaging, utterly interesting music, particularly for Alice
's juxtaposition of space against melody. "Om Nama Sivaya" is the album's closer, and at 19 minutes is over half of the disc's entire length. Here is where the great jazz musician shows her face. Playing Wurlitzer organ, Alice
is backed only by John Coltrane Jr.
on drums. She improvises against a traditional Indian mode and stretches it until it turns back on itself, breaks, moves into other modalities of harmonic invention, and rebuilds itself. It's driving, with a circular rhythm and head that reveals itself at odd junctures, and is full of great soloing. This track alone makes the set worth its purchase price.