The problem with Traneology: You expect the moon and the stars. These are not available!
Out in late-March from New York alto saxophonist/bandleader Lakecia Benjamin the album as discussed back in January features plenty of big name guests including the ever inspiring Ron Carter and Gary Bartz, and more to the point a great opportunity to hear Benjamin under the microscope on classic material paying homage to Alice and John Coltrane.
Listening to it through a few times this week I just want to go back and listen to John Coltrane records all day long instead. After all the music of John Coltrane is the greatest. Coupling two very different approaches, Alice's and John's, into one tribute is not ideal. It is not gestalt, alas, or even close as it turns out.
Benjamin has been around a while picking up a lot of acclaim along the way. Do not get me wrong she is an excellent instrumentalist and I'd rate her higher than Cassie Kinoshi who I also admire and whose approach is not dissimilar.
This is Lakecia's third album. She might have waited for a decade or two to make this record. To be released on the Ropeadope label, 'Liberia,' 'Prema,' 'Central Park West' featuring Jazzmeia Horn, 'Walk With Me,' 'Going Home,' 'Syeeda’s Song Flute,' featuring Second Great Miles Davis Quintet bassist the aforementioned Ron Carter, 'Spiral,' 'Om Shanti,' 'Alabama,' 'Acknowledgement,' featuring the great Dee Dee Bridgewater who sings her own lyrics, 'Pursuance,' 'Turiya and Ramakrishna,' plus 'Affinity' featuring Coltrane bassist Reggie Workman and MBASE era alto sax master Greg Osby on this Alice Coltrane composition all make the cut. There are riches here, just do not expect transcendentalism or revelation.
Sincere? Yes. Exceptionally well played and respectful? Yes. Moves me? Not at all. SG