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Baker's Dozen

Delving Into Consciousness: Hamid Drake's Favourite Music
Sean Kitching , September 4th, 2019 09:47

Percussionist Hamid Drake guides Sean Kitching through 13 favourite albums of cosmic enlightenment courtesy of Alice and John Coltrane, Don Cherry, Ravi Shankar, Jimi Hendrix and much more. Photo by Ludmilla Faccenda


Alice Coltrane - Universal Consciousness
A couple of years later, I met Alice Coltrane. She was doing a concert at a venue outside of Chicago. It was one of the highest moments of my life and still is now. I went to see her play and met her and we exchanged addresses. I was involved in a religion at the time called the Bahá'í Faith. I gave Alice a couple of books by the prophet of the Bahá'í Faith, Bahá'u'lláh, and then the next recording she did was Universal Consciousness. If you opened the LP, at the very top on the left-hand side, she had a quote from Bahá'u'lláh, from one of the books I’d given her. Journey In Satchidananda was such a profound opening experience. It was one of those records that gave me the inspiration to explore the tradition of improvised music, but also the spirituality behind music. It helped me to go deeper into one of the things I’m still exploring - traditional Indian spirituality. Universal Consciousness was where I first got a chance to hear jazz musicians who were improvising and playing in this orchestral context too. There was a great saxophonist, Frank Lowe, who played on that. This record was something that caused me to ask the question: ‘What is universal consciousness?’