Penn Live Arts at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts is celebrating the music of John and Alice Coltrane with over a week’s worth of special programming, including documentary film screenings, cover sets by renowned jazz musicians, and choreographed dance. Festival highlights include the world premiere of Walk With Mea performance by the Pam Tanowitz Dance company with live accompaniment by saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin and her band Pursuance on October 14th, and the music of John and Alice as played by their son, Ravi Coltrane and his quintet on the 22nd.
“I wanted to honor both Alice and John Coltrane in my album, Pursuance: The Coltranes,” says Benjamin. “Even though I am a saxophonist, I was familiar with Alice Coltrane’s music before I became familiar with John Coltrane and his music.” The magnetism and spirituality of Alice specifically is a major influence on Benjamin and her work. In programming the festival, Penn Live consciously curated works that honor Alice’s underrepresented contributions to the jazz canon, in addition to honoring John’s legacy.
Before any of the live performances, be sure to swing by the Annenberg Center for one or both of the Coltrane movies Chasing Trane and Blue Note Records, showing on the 12th and 13th, respectively. The full schedule, including an evening with innovative jazz harpist Brandee Younger, is available at pennlivearts.org.