Released in 1976, Eternity was Alice Coltrane's first album for Warner Bros. after eight wondrous records on Impulse! Combining the drones and textures of India, the gospel and R&B of her Detroit youth and the dissonance of modern classical composition, Coltrane's music in the '70s would become increasingly difficult to categorize. Having moved a few years earlier to California (where she founded the Vedantic Center, an Ashram for spiritual studies), Coltrane stretches out on Eternity -- incorporating various musical styles, including a stirring adaptation of Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring -- and the results are dazzling, both in sonic scope and emotional range.
Opener 'Spiritual Eternal' sways between Alice's exploratory organ and the dramatic swell of lush strings. A meditative solo piece for harp, 'Wisdom Eye,' precedes the rollicking rhythms of 'Los Caballos,' which showcases some of her finest soloing. 'Om Supreme' is the album's first track to be built around bhajans (Hindu devotional songs). Featuring graceful keyboards backed by an angelic choir, this piece hints at the ecstatic devotional music that she would later make with members of her Ashram.
While Coltrane would delve deeper into her spiritual journeys and continue to expand her musical interests on subsequent LPs, Eternity remains a vivid and compelling display of her unique vision, myriad talents and passions.
On this set, Alice Coltrane moves past the rawer spiritual sound of her Impulse albums – working with a more focused vision and an approach to jazz that takes her way past the identity of just being "Mrs Coltrane", into territory that's a more perfect expression of her spiritual vision. The approach calls for more ambitious orchestrations, yet never in a way that overwhelms the jazz basis of the music – and Alice herself is on Fender Rhodes, organ, and harp – working with players who include Fred Jackson and Hubert Laws on reeds, Oscar Brashear on trumpet, George Bohannon on trombone, Charlie Haden on bass, Ben Riley on drums, and Armando Peraza on congas. Titles include "Spiritual Eternal", "Om Supreme", "Morning Workshop", "Wisdom Eye", and "Los Caballos".