Ravi Coltrane: In Flux (2005)
The short piano-tenor sax duet "The Message" displays Coltrane's emotive, lyrical side to open the recording. This side resurfaces on Gress' mournful tune "Away," where the sparse drums and subtle piano chords and bass movement frame the keening horn and on "Dear Alice," a heartfelt paean to his mother, featuring swirling tenor lines around the wavelike motion of the rhythm section. These pieces exemplify the group's patience; tunes unfold episodically. Throughout, Coltrane avoids skronk and atonality.
But In Flux is not all slow-tempo ballads. Coltrane dons the soprano on "Coincide," slinking around the ensemble as it builds intensity, including a fierce bombast by Strickland filling over the changes. His tune "Angular Realms" features askew movement, especially the piano accents in the head and provides an engaging platform for Coltrane and Perdomo's solos. The pianist's contribution, "Scram Vamp," injects energy, with Gress and Strickland latching onto the groove for Coltrane to soar. Fiery bursts dominate the improvisatory pieces "Variations I and III" and show the musicians' collective empathy.
Although Coltrane is the leader, his band approach to the recording translates into enthusiastic performances and fleshed-out ideas, bringing him to a plateau on his musical path.
Track Listing: The Messenger Part I; Coincide; Variations III; Away; Leaving Avignon; Blending Times; Dear Alice; Angular Realms; Scram Vamp; Variations I; United; For Zoe.
Personnel: Ravi Coltrane (tenor and soprano saxophones), Luis Perdomo (piano), Drew Gress (bass), EJ Strickland (drums) with Luisito Quintero (percussion on
Record Label: Savoy Jazz