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Catalog Data

Produced by:
National Educational Television, American, 1954 - 1970  Search this
William Greaves, American, 1926 - 2014  Search this
Directed by:
Stan Lathan, American, born 1945  Search this
Subject of:
Alice Coltrane, American, 1937 - 2007  Search this
John Coltrane, American, 1926 - 1967  Search this
Owned by:
Pearl Bowser, American, 1931 - 2023  Search this
acetate film
Duration: 17 Minutes
Length (Film): 580 Feet
sound films
color films (visual works)
16mm (photographic film size)
Place filmed:
Dix Hills, Huntington, Long Island, New York, United States, North and Central America
This 16mm film is a documentary segment focusing on the life of Alice Coltrane and her children in the wake of the death of her husband, famed jazz musician John Coltrane.
The 16mm color film print is a short documentary made for a segment of National Education Television's Black Journal television program. The segment focuses on the life of Alice Coltrane and her children in the wake of the death of her husband, famed jazz musician John Coltrane. This film was shot sometime during 1970; three years after the death of John Coltrane.
This film opens with a collage of photos of jazz musician John Coltrane with a voice-over of a male narrator communicating the musical genius and personal demeanor of the renowned music artist. The voice-over ends with an open-ended statement on John Coltrane's family, leading into an interview with his wife, Alice Coltrane. Alice Coltrane discusses the influence her late husband has had on her life, both musically and spiritually. She speaks of him being a spiritual person, although not tied to one organized religion, his vegetarian diet, and how he carved time out of his days to meditate. There is footage of their children playing in the yard and walking with their mother. Alice plays the harp and talks about how her music is a manifestation of her spirituality.
She discusses her musical career and how she balances that with being a mother and paying tribute to her late husband, but also not wanting to be defined as an extension of John Coltrane's music. Instead, when she finds herself playing some of the music he wrote, she sees herself as sharing in what he produced throughout his career. Footage of her playing the piano at a small jazz concert with a few other musicians plays for two minutes. In the final minutes of the segment, Alice Coltrane explains her relationship with a higher power and the personal enlightenment she has felt and gained through meditation. The film ends with a dolly-out/zoom-out long shot of Alice Coltrane and her children waving from their home.
African American  Search this
Families  Search this
Film  Search this
Jazz (Music)  Search this
Motherhood  Search this
Musicians  Search this
Profile films  Search this
Public television  Search this
Spirituality  Search this
Credit Line:
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Pearl Bowser
Object number:
Restrictions & Rights:
© National Educational Television
Permission required for use. Proper usage is the responsibility of the user.
See more items in:
National Museum of African American History and Culture Collection
Collection title:
Pearl Bowser Collection
Black Journal
Media Arts-Film and Video
Data Source:
National Museum of African American History and Culture