Jazz and Social Justice Vol. 23: Brandee Younger—Monument Eternal: The Light and Legacy of Alice Coltrane

 

Harpist Brandee Younger will lead the Alice Coltrane Ensemble from the New School, performing music composed by Alice Coltrane. Following the music, she and the series curator, journalist Larry Blumenfeld, will be joined by Hollis King (Creative Director, Board member, Friends of The Coltrane Home) and Matthew Garrison (bassist, producer and President, ShapeShifter Lab and ShapeShifter Plus) to discuss Alice’s influence and message, as well as current initiatives of The John & Alice Coltrane Home and the “Year of Alice.” 

The John & Alice Coltrane Home and the Coltrane Family have declared 2024-2025 to be THE YEAR OF ALICE, celebrating the extensive life work of spiritual leader, composer, and musician Alice Coltrane. Alice Coltrane’s pioneering and trailblazing career has changed the course of history. She forged masterful creative works, created music that beams universal love and spirituality to anyone that is listening, and laid the groundwork for musicians for years to come to do the same. She was prolific in her creation, with iconic works that include Journey in Satchidananda, A Monastic Trio, Universal Consciousness, and Ptah, the El Daoud. She continued creating music when she started her ashram in California—music from that time would later be released to critical acclaim. Beyond her recorded output Coltrane was a beloved and wise spiritual leader, a pragmatic person with a keen eye for business, and a deeply giving human, who emphasized the importance of charitable giving, education, and spiritual guidance.  

To honor her legacy, 2024 and 2025 will see a slew of tributary music events, programming, concert series, music releases and more to celebrate the life and legacy of Alice Coltrane.  

The recently released Alice Coltrane – The Carnegie Hall Concert(Impulse!) is the first release of the full recording of a captivating performance, held four years after John Coltrane’s passing. It marked Alice’s first performance as a leader at Carnegie Hall. Her band that night added two members of Satchidananda’s circle—Kumar Kramer and Tulsi Reynolds, playing harmonium and tamboura—to a large all-star jazz ensemble including saxophonists Pharoah Sanders and Archie Shepp), bassists Jimmy Garrison and Cecil McBee, ands drummers Ed Blackwell and Clifford Jarvis.  

 

ABOUT THE ARTIST:
A leading voice of the harp, Brandee Younger recently made history at the 2022 Grammy Awards as the first Black female solo artist nominated in the Best Instrumental Composition category for her song “Beautiful Is Black.”  The mesmerizing track is from her 2021 critically well-received major label debut album, Somewhere Different, that also received a 2022 NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Jazz Album – Instrumental.  Over her career Ms. Younger has performed and recorded across countless genres with artists including John Legend, The Roots, Lauryn Hill, Common, Pharoah Sanders, Ravi Coltrane, Ron Carter, and Charlie Haden. Additionally  her original composition “Hortense” was featured in the Netflix Concert-Documentary, Beyoncé: Homecoming and in 2019 the tireless musician was selected to perform her original music as a featured performer for Quincy Jones and Steve McQueens’Soundtrack of America.

Ms. Younger’s ability to seamlessly inject the harp into arrangements and venues where it has historically been overlooked is a testament to her deep love for and exemplary command of the instrument.  In addition to performing, she is on the teaching artist faculty at New York University and The New School College of Performing Arts in New York City.

 

ABOUT THE JAZZ AND SOCIAL JUSTICE SERIES:

This series, now in its seventh year, connects the music we love with the social and political issues that matter to us all. Each salon blends live performance with conversation between artists, activists, and experts. Curated and hosted by journalist and critic Larry Blumenfeld, whose NJMIH programs during the past dozen years have considered Afro-Cuban influence within New York’s jazz scene and contemporary New Orleans. 

 

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