571

Ravi Coltrane: Blending Times

Mark F. Turner By

Sign in to view read count
Ravi Coltrane: Blending Times Saxophonist Ravi Coltrane stands in the legacy of not one, but two great influences: his honored father, John Coltrane, one of the most influential musicians in jazz, and his mother, Alice Coltrane, a superb musician and spiritual guide whose untimely passing in January 17, 2007 left a void that will not be easily filled. Yet with a quiet demeanor contrasted by profound abilities, Ravi Coltrane delivers the long-awaited Blending Times.

This is his fifth release as a leader following 2005's acclaimed In Flux (Savoy). It is even more dynamic due in part not only to Coltrane's personal experiences, but also because of his excellent band that includes longtime members Luis Perdomo, a remarkable pianist, Drew Gress, a demonstrative in-demand bassist, and E.J. Strickland, a gifted drummer who is also the twin brother of saxophonist Marcus Strickland.

Coltrane's tenor is more robust than ever—marked by quickness, stamina, and warmth—showing glimpses of true brilliance on "A Still Life" with inquisitive soloing that has equal amounts of power and gentleness. The appropriate titled "Shine" shows stylistic properties—deliberate, passionate, freely expressed within an enlightening melody where the solos are connected like links in a chain.

The music follows the band's form: a gelatinous continuity conveyed in a mix of stirring contemporary music. Improvisational puzzles ("First Circuit" and "The Last Circuit"), some tricked funk syncopation in "Narcined," a circuitous cat-and-mouse chase in "One Wheeler Will," and swinging bopacity in Thelonious Monk's "Epistrophy." One of the many highlights is "Amalgams," which moves from atmospheric lushness into a smoldering groove. It articulates an identifiable group sound with sparkling individualism that documents a strong performing unit.

As in his previous recordings, there lies a cerebral quality in the music that is undeniable. This reaches an apex on the recording's final track with "For Turiya," a superb ending featuring special guests, longtime friend/bassist Charlie Haden and harpist Brandee Younger.

Written by Haden, the composition begins with a simply beautiful harp solo by Younger which introduces the theme, followed by declarative statements from Haden and Coltrane. It conjures memories of classic recordings that featured both Alice Coltrane's harp and John Coltrane's saxophone with gracefulness and serenity.

Coltrane can't deny his rich heritage and thankfully embraces it. But of equal import, he clearly has it within, to leave his own imprint, as witnessed on this superb release.


Track Listing: Shine; First Circuit; A Still Life; Epistrophy; Amalgams; Narcined; One Wheeler Will; The Last Circuit; Before with After; For Turiya.

Personnel: Ravi Coltrane: tenor saxophone; Luis Perdomo: piano; Drew Gress: acoustic bass; E. J. Strickland: drums; Charlie Haden: bass (10); Brandee Younger: harp (10).

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Savoy Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "The Reasons Don't Change" CD/LP/Track Review The Reasons Don't Change
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 15, 2017
Read "Broken Artist" CD/LP/Track Review Broken Artist
by James Nadal
Published: June 26, 2016
Read "Everybody's Somebody's Nobody" CD/LP/Track Review Everybody's Somebody's Nobody
by John Sharpe
Published: May 27, 2016
Read "Transparent Water" CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Masters Of War" CD/LP/Track Review Masters Of War
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 29, 2017
Read "On Hollywood Boulevard" CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!