Ravi Coltrane- tenor and soprano saxophonist, bandleader, and composer - has fronted a variety of jazz lineups, recorded critically-hailed albums as leader, produced recordings by other artists - including his mother, worked as sideman for jazz luminaries, overseen important jazz reissues, and founded an independent record label. Seventeen years since finding his life's path, it seems music was Ravi's destiny from the outset.
Born the second son of John and Alice Coltrane in 1965 in Long Island, New York and raised in the Los Angeles area, he was named after Indian sitar legend Ravi Shankar. Starting in middle school, Ravi began playing clarinet, though he grew up hearing a variety of music. ("My mother was playing piano and organ in the house, everyday. She took us to her performances and to recording sessions. She played my father's LP's and recordings of classical music. Early on, I listened to a lot of R and B, Soul music, popular music of the day - James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Sly Stone, Motown music, Earth Wind and Fire. Later I got into Prince, The Beatles, I listened to more Symphonic music - Stravinsky, Dvorak. I was a big fan of film scores. Jazz music was something I always appreciated but I had to reach my late teens and go through profound family changes before the music became a dominate force in my life.") In 1986, Ravi entered the California Institute of the Arts to pursue musical studies, focusing on the saxophone.
In 1991, Ravi hooked up with Elvin Jones, his father's renowned drummer from the 60's and received his first taste of the jazz life. Within a year, he relocated to New York City and began playing with a variety of players: Jack DeJohnnette, Rashied Ali, Wallace Roney, Antoine Roney, Geri Allen, Kenny Barron, Cindy Blackman, Joe Lovano, Joanne Brackeen, Gerry Gibbs, Graham Haynes, and Steve Coleman. Ravi's relationship with Coleman through most of the 90's was particularly influential on the budding saxophonist, including tours and appearances on several Coleman albums.
In 1997, after performing on over thirty recordings as a sideman, Ravi entered the studio to record his first album as leader. Moving Pictures was his well-rounded debut on RCA Victor, leading Ravi to assemble his first touring group (pianist Andy Milne, bassist Daryl Hall and drummer Steve Hass, with bassist James Genus and pianist George Colligan frequently filling in) and to travel widely in North America and Europe. In 1999, he married Kathleen Hennessy and his son William was born. From the Round Box, Ravi's second album as leader, was released in 2000 and was warmly received by critics and revealed a growing sense of self-challenge, balancing esoteric covers with compelling originals.