This weirdly-entitled album is the 3rd solo album by Alice Coltrane released in 1973, the first to feature horns as provided by Pharoah Sanders and Joe Henderson. Ben Riley (drums) and Ron Carter (bass) round out this All-Star quintet. All the compositions though were written by Ms. Coltrane herself.
In essence, the album is a mere four tracks – four very lengthy tracks. The title track is named for the Egyptian god Ptah, “the El Daoud” meaning “the beloved”. ‘Turiya‘, according to the liner notes, “was defined by Alice as ‘a state of consciousness — the high state of Nirvana, the goal of human life”, while ‘Ramakrishna‘ was a 19th-century Bengali religious figure. The origin of the title of ‘Blue Nile‘ is self-explanatory and, in it, Coltrane switches from piano to harp, and Sanders and Henderson from tenor saxophones to alto flutes. ‘Mantra‘ returns to the piano and saxes. Now, how jazz and ancient Egypt come together exactly is anyone’s guess.
Most notably, is that this album – while lesser-known – ranks right up there with ‘Kind Of Blue‘ (Miles Davis) and ‘A Love Supreme‘ (John Coltrane) as perfect modal jazz recording. This is quite amazing for a record made in 1970, when almost every major figure in the jazz world was going fusion.