Ptah, The El Daoud
Sometimes written off as an also-ran to her more famous husband, Alice Coltrane 's work of the late '60s and early '70s shows that she was a strong composer and performer in her own right, with a unique ability to impregnate her music with spirituality and gentleness without losing its edges or depth. Ptah, The El Daoud is a truly great album, and listeners who surrender themselves to it emerge on the other side of its 46 minutes transformed. From the purifying catharsis of the first moments of the title track to the last moments of "Mantra," with its disjointed piano dance and passionate ribbons of tenor cast out into the universe, the album resonates with beauty, clarity, and emotion. Coltrane 's piano solo on "Turiya and Ramakrishna" is a lush, melancholy, soothing blues, punctuated only by hushed bells and the sandy whisper of Ben Riley 's drums and later exchanged for an equally emotive solo by bassist Ron Carter. Perhaps as strong as the writing here, though, are the performances that Coltrane coaxes from her sidemen, especially the horn players. Joe Henderson , who can always be counted on for technical excellence, gives a performance that is simply on a whole other level from much of his other work -- freer, more open, and more fluid here than nearly anywhere else.
Ptah, the El Daoud was the third solo album by Alice Coltrane. This was Coltrane's first album with horns aside from one track on A Monastic Trio , on which Pharoah Sanders had played bass clarinet. Sanders is recorded on the right channel and Joe Henderson on the left channel throughout. All the compositions were written by Coltrane. The title track is named for the Egyptian god Ptah, "the El Daoud" meaning "the beloved". The origin of the title of "Blue Nile" is self-explanatory, Coltrane switches from piano to harp, and Sanders and Henderson from tenor saxophones to alto flutes. Join us by becoming a Soundohm member. The website is designed to offer cross references and additional information on each title, as well as sound clips to appreciate the music before buying it.
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