5

Ravi Coltrane: Spirit Fiction

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Ravi Coltrane: Spirit Fiction The second son of John Coltrane and Alice Coltrane, saxophonist Ravi Coltrane was born two years before his father's death in 1967. Despite his imposing lineage, Coltrane's steady rise to prominence in the jazz world has been anything but conspicuous; notable stints as a sideman with Steve Coleman, Elvin Jones and Wallace Roney in the mid-1990s eventually led to a series of recording sessions for RCA, Columbia and Savoy in the new millennium.

Spirit Fiction, his sixth album as a leader and first for Blue Note, presents multiple facets of his diverse artistry, realized by two very different lineups. Several tracks feature Coltrane's longstanding quartet with pianist Luis Perdomo, bassist Drew Gress and drummer E.J. Strickland, whose virtuosic rapport has grown exponentially over the past decade. The remainder of the date features a nimble quintet comprised of trumpeter Ralph Alessi, pianist Geri Allen, bassist James Genus and drummer Eric Harland—the same personnel that supported Coltrane's sophomore effort From the Round Box (RCA, 2000)—with three exceptionally tuneful numbers written by Alessi.

According to Coltrane, "The title, Spirit Fiction is an abstract turn of phrase that ... ultimately refers to the open ended idea of simply embracing imagination." The quixotic title track expounds upon this concept as the quartet divides in half, simultaneously heading in opposite aesthetic directions—a contrapuntal approach explored to even greater extent on the thorny variations "Roads Cross" and "Cross Roads," where superimposed layering of contrasting pulses and tempos yields intricate, yet swinging examples of post-bop that are as adventurous as they are accessible.

Establishing a historical through line, label mate and co-producer Joe Lovano lends his singular tenor saxophone prowess to the quintet's spirited cover of "Check Out Time," from Ornette Coleman's 1968 Blue Note release, Love Call. Lovano also joins Coltrane and Allen in a sublime trio rendition of Paul Motian's haunting ballad "Fantasm," which Lovano first played on the legendary drummer's Psalm (ECM, 1981).

Gracefully alternating between arcane post M-Base rhythmic experiments and more lyrical excursions (which accentuate the leader's dexterous facility and melodic ingenuity in equal measure), Spirit Fiction stands as Coltrane's most sophisticated and engaging statement to date. Though the shadow of his revered father will always be present, Coltrane has succeeded in establishing a unique identity—informed, but unburdened—by the past.


Track Listing: Roads Cross; Klepto; Spirit Fiction; The Change, My Girl; Who Wants Ice Cream; Spring & Hudson; Cross Roads; Yellow Cat; Check Out Time; Fantasm; Marilyn & Tammy.

Personnel: Ravi Coltrane: tenor and soprano saxophones; Joe Lovano: tenor saxophone (9, 10); Luis Perdomo: piano (1, 3, 4, 7, 11); Drew Gress: bass (1, 3, 4, 7, 11); E.J. Strickland: drums (1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 11); Ralph Alessi: trumpet (2, 5, 8, 9); Geri Allen: 2, 5, 8-10); James Genus: bass (2, 5, 8, 9); Eric Harland: drums (2, 5, 8, 9).

Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Blue Note Records


Shop

More Articles

Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Odil - Something" CD/LP/Track Review Odil - Something
by Geno Thackara
Published: July 27, 2016
Read "Time Out" CD/LP/Track Review Time Out
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: July 9, 2016
Read "Pittsburgh" CD/LP/Track Review Pittsburgh
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 23, 2016
Read "Countdown" CD/LP/Track Review Countdown
by Doug Collette
Published: September 17, 2016
Read "Volume 1" CD/LP/Track Review Volume 1
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 19, 2016
Read "Better Left Unsung" CD/LP/Track Review Better Left Unsung
by Doug Collette
Published: December 10, 2016

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!