By 1971, Alice Coltrane had gained a reputation as a major music innovator and was developing her own musical language. On Journey in Satchidananda, she still made use of the compositional structures of her previous acclaimed Impulse! albums. However, this LP was also deeply influenced by the teachings of guru Swami Satchidananda, whose huge popularity at the end of the ‘60s became a symbol for America’s growing search for peace at the end of a particularly violent decade. Journey in Satchidananda created space for a meeting of cultures; its music was of great spiritual depth and a psychedelic fusion of modal jazz with Indian, African and Middle Eastern styles. It also featured a blend of instruments from the East and the West, with the former headed by saxophonist Pharoah Sanders (whose name appears on the covers) and the latter represented by the presence of such instruments as the oud and the tamboura, plus Coltrane herself leading and providing a modal core on piano or harp.
By Matt Micucci