Saturday, October 31, 2020

Alice Coltrane Early Years

I think the first time I heard Alice Coltrane went to Cass Tech was about 2005. A friend had told me the high school still has the harp that both Alice Coltrane (nee McLeod) and Dorothy Ashby studied on. With a desire just to see a picture of her from that time, I started going through old Cass Tech year books and was surprised to not only find no photos of her, but not even one mention of her name. Read the sources, emailed other jazz musicians from Cass at that time, and started to think she didn't actually go there. With the press clipping below from The Detroit Free Press, I was on the path, and a quick perusal through the 1955 Northeastern High School year book found the stunning pic below. And the equally as captivating group pic. Seems like Washington Post once correctly reported on her alma mater, but I'm still in the dark as to HOW this became accepted as fact for seemingly decades. Any insight?

Side note: Surely someone who won a spelling bee would change their name to Turiyasangitananda later in life.