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STEVE INSKEEP:

Next, let's take a moment to remember Alice Coltrane, who died on Friday. She may be best known as a piano player who married jazz legend John Coltrane. But she was also a musical innovator, an influential spiritualist who developed her own sound on piano, on organ and on the harp.

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INSKEEP: We have a report now from music journalist Ashley Kahn.

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ASHLEY KAHN: As Alice Coltrane saw it, there's really no difference between making music and worshipping the divine. It was part of the philosophy she had inherited from her husband, saxophonist John Coltrane.

Ms. ALICE COLTRANE (Widow of John Coltrane): Once, John and I were coming form a concert that he had played, and it was late in the morning. We heard a couple leaving, and the lady said, oh, I have to hurry home. I'm going to church tomorrow. And her friends said, church? You've already been to church.

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KAHN: She was born Alice Lucille Mcleod in 1937 to a musical family in Detroit. She studied classical piano, fell in love with bebop jazz and then fell in love with John Coltrane in 1962. When he died five years later, she became a widow with a career that was just beginning.

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KAHN: Over the next 40 years, Alice Coltrane accomplished many things. She led a center for spiritual study. She raised four children, and she created an entirely original musical mix of modern jazz and the Indian Ragga's classical influences and funky blues.

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KAHN: In 2004, at the urging of her son, saxophonist Robby Coltrane, she came out of retirement and recorded her final album, "Translinear Light."

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KAHN: In the circle of jazz, a musician does not die or pass away. It's simply referred to as leaving. At the age of 69, Alice Coltrane has left us to begin a different stage of her journey. May she travel well.

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INSKEEP: Ashley Kahn is author of "The House that Trane Built: The Story of Impulse Records."

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