Huntington Ashram Monastery
Jaya Jaya Rama
Editors’ Notes Alice Coltrane’s second solo record following A Monastic Trio in 1968, Huntington Ashram Monastery is finally receiving some exposure in the digital era. Notable for its spare design, the album features Coltrane’s harp or piano in singular collaboration with Ron Carter’s bass and Rashied Ali’s drums. The absence of horns often leaves the melodies to Carter’s bass: its humming incantation on the title track is the album’s most memorable moment. Each song is based around a person or concept: “Via Sivanandagar” and “Paramahansa Lake” are dedicated to Swamis who influenced Coltrane, while “Turiya” and “I.H.S.” (meaning “I have suffered”) refer to notions of Karma and Nirvana. While one can hear Coltrane reaching for a peaceful state, there is an undercurrent of torment and tumult running through these performances. The closing track “Jaya Jaya Rama” is a fearsome blues song driven by Coltrane’s pestling piano. One can feel the musicians confronting the emotions brought about by the death of John Coltrane; the album’s title refers to the town in Long Island where he died not two years before this album was recorded.