USA, 1974, spiritual jazz
Joe Henderson & Alice Coltrane – The Elements: Some of the most fun I’ve ever had on a first-time listen. I went into this one blind, as a little experiment, to see how evocative the music could be. Could I guess the elements just by listening? Of course I have a 1 in 4 chance of just blindly guessing, but I wanted to see if the music could paint the elements. It did. As I listened through the four tracks, the overriding images in my mind were dance, blow, ripple, and snake, in that order. The last one, however, was muddled a bit, because I kept thinking rain and wind, too. But before the voice mutters “children of the soil”, I knew the last track was Earth because the “snaking” feeling held true. It was the sound of the sand dune ridges snaking through the desert, blown by the hot winds. The “raining” feel was the sound of the dusty earth when the first rain drops strike it. Yes, this album sets out just what it means to do, and it does it perfectly.