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Baker's Dozen

Angel On My Shoulder: Serafina Steer’s Baker’s Dozen
Stephanie Phillips , January 26th, 2022 14:38

From a song so good she almost forgot her shopping, to the iconoclastic brilliance of Alice Coltrane, Bas Jan’s Serafina Steer guides Stephanie Phillips through thirteen songs and albums that have inspired her


Alice Coltrane – Eternity

The first track is amazing and really big and ballsy. I infer spiritual from it because I feel like she is in everything. There’s this really burning solo, but it's also slightly wonky and she uses the pitch bend on the keyboard and then these razzie Big Band strings come in and it's just like, whoa. Whatever this kind of spirituality is I definitely want to be there at those gates. She's just so authoritative and brilliant.

My impression of her is she was really iconoclastic in the way she was going to be spiritual and the way she was going to interpret it musically. Playing the harp the way she was going to play the harp. I mean, just everything about her I find really ‘yes, I can, because she can.’ If she can do that, then fucking anyone can, I can, you know. I'm getting all shivery, it's because I'm really cold in this room, but maybe it's the spirit of Alice Coltrane.

I don't know where I heard this, but for her arrangement of the ‘The Rite of Spring’ she asked John Coltrane, her deceased husband, whether she could rework it. I kind of like that. I heard about this idea that you can just pick a couple of angels to be on your shoulders. And I thought that she was a good one. Kind of an ‘what would I do in this situation’ as an artist. I guess all of the people on these lists, in some ways, reflect that kind of role to me.