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Ravi Coltrane

     

Praised for his music’s “elusive beauty” (DownBeat), and for his “style informed by tradition but not encumbered by it” (Philadelphia City Paper), saxophonist Ravi Coltrane takes a bold step in his creative journey with Spirit Fiction, his Blue Note Records debut.


Spirit Fiction features two different band lineups. Several tracks feature pianist Luis Perdomo, bassist Drew Gress and drummer E.J. Strickland.  Coltrane also enlisted a quintet featuring trumpeter Ralph Alessi, pianist Geri Allen, bassist James Genus and drummer Eric Harland— the personnel featured on From the Round Box, his acclaimed sophomore release from 2000.


According to Coltrane, “The title, Spirit Fiction, is an abstract turn of phrase that seemed to mesh with the layered nature of the title track. It also felt like a gentle indicator of the ‘science’ involved in recording that track. In some ways, it ultimately refers to the open ended idea of simply embracing imagination.”


Born on Long Island in 1965, Ravi is the second son of John and Alice Coltrane. His father, a seminal figure in jazz, died when Ravi was only two. Alice, a renowned composer and pianist, raised Ravi on the West Coast and proved a strong role model in her own right. Ravi had the honor of producing and playing on Alice Coltrane’s Translinear Light, released three years prior to her death in 2007.


A move back east to New York and pivotal stints with Elvin Jones, Wallace Roney and Steve Coleman led Ravi to begin asserting himself as a leader in the mid 1990s.  He followed Moving Pictures and From the Round Box with Mad 6, In Flux, and Blending Times.  He also continued appearing as a sideman with the likes of McCoy Tyner, Jack DeJohnette , and as a co-leader of the Saxophone Summit with Joe Lovano and Dave Liebman.


Even as he foregrounds his own development and eschews any attempt to recreate the hallowed jazz past, Ravi Coltrane knows as well as anyone the importance of the music’s lineage. Reflecting on the place of Ornette and Motian, and implicitly his father, in the story of his own career, Ravi concludes: “If it weren’t for those guys, we wouldn’t be here.”