A lot of Alice Coltrane’s music can probably best be described as being “cosmic”. She often viewed her music as a spiritual expression; she was deeply influenced by mysticism, to the point of setting up her own ashram (spiritual retreat) in the early 80s. This song, the title track of the album, was released in 1971, with the spiritual nature of her work already clear. The song’s rather difficult to spell name was the name of her guru, who she was very close to.
The transcendental feel of this particular song owes a lot to the inclusion of the tanbura, which, along with the contemplative, plodding bass, rises and falls gently with a calming melody.
Coltrane’s harp playing is masterful, and the flurry of notes so typical of experimental forms of jazz lends the song a very mystical vibe, complemented by a chorus of tambourines and bells. Pharoah Sanders excels himself with his saxophone playing, slotting his notes very nicely over the top of the dense texture of sound below.
The track is such a far out experience, and a worthy display of the formidable talents of both Coltrane and Sanders.