Produced by
National Educational Television, American, 1954 - 1970
Greaves, William, American, 1926 - 2014
Directed by
Lathan, Stan, American, born 1945
Subject of
Coltrane, Alice, American, 1937 - 2007
Coltrane, John, American, 1926 - 1967
Owned by
Bowser, Pearl, American, born 1931
acetate film
Duration: 17 Minutes
Length (Film): 580 Feet
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 magician 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.
Place filmed
Dix Hills, Huntington, Long Island, New York, United States, North and Central America
Collection title
Pearl Bowser Collection
Black Journal
Media Arts-Film and Video
sound films
color films (visual works)
16mm (photographic film size)
Jazz (Music)
Profile films
Public television
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.

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