Alice Coltrane

  • Universal Consciousness
  • Released: 1972
  • Recorded: 1971
  • Jazz
  • Free Jazz, Modal Music, Meditation

Universal Consciousness was the fifth solo album released by Alice Coltrane in 1972.


1 "Universal Consciousness" – 5.02
2 "Battle At Armageddon" – 7.19
3 "Oh Allah" – 4.53
4 "Hare Krishna" – 8.14
5 "Sita Ram" – 4.45
6 "The Ankh of Amen-Ra" – 6.10

Recorded at A&R Recording, New York City and/or at the Coltrane Studio, Dix Hills, New York


String arrangements on tracks 1,3 and 4 by Alice Coltrane
Tracks 4 and 5 arranged by Alice Coltrane
Transcriptions on tracks 1,3 and 4 by Ornette Coleman

Producers: Alice Coltrane & Ed Michel
Engineers at Dix Hills: W. Barneke and Roy Musgnug
Engineer at A&R: Tony May
Mixed by Tony May and Ed Michel



After the directionless, meandering Journey in Satchidananda, Alice Coltrane finally hits her stride with the gorgeous Universal Consciousness. Rather than sounding like an album by the John Coltrane backing band without John Coltrane, Alice finds her own vocabulary and her own musical structures here, and while the tracks still aren't pushing forward, the soundscapes created on this recording feel ever so much more substantial than on her previous albums.

Coltrane is playing organ and harp on this album, using them to weave rich and intricate texture; the backing comes from a wide range of musicians, including Jimmy Garrison, Rashied Ali and Jack DeJohnnette, plus, somewhat unexpectedly, a string quartet. The result is rich spiritual free jazz of the highest order. Particularly engaging are the organ/drum duets with Rashied Ali, which turn into extremely tangible buildings of sound.

The great thing about Universal Consciousness is that even on mantric melodies like "Hare Krishna" it never gets monotonous or repetitive, something that cannot be said of her earlier recordings. At any time, there is always change and flow, and always enough to keep this interesting throughout.

A compelling album, and definitely one of her very best.

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