Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

5

Ravi Coltrane: Spirit Fiction

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
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; Sprit Fiction; the change, my girl; Who Wants Ice Cream; Spring & Hudson; Cross Roads; Yellow Cat; Check Out Time; Fantasm; Marilyn & Tammy.

Personnel: Ravi Coltrane: saxophones; 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: piano (2, 5, 8-10); James Genus: bass (2, 5, 8, 9); Eric Harland: drums (2, 5, 8, 9); Joe Lovano: saxophone (9, 10).

Title: Spirit Fiction | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Blue Note Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Runner in the Rain CD/LP/Track Review
Runner in the Rain
by Troy Dostert
Published: December 15, 2018
Read Cuarteto Europa CD/LP/Track Review
Cuarteto Europa
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 15, 2018
Read Chicago/Buenos Aires Connections CD/LP/Track Review
Chicago/Buenos Aires Connections
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 15, 2018
Read Beggar’s Banquet 50th Anniversary Edition CD/LP/Track Review
Beggar’s Banquet 50th Anniversary Edition
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: December 15, 2018
Read Intelsat CD/LP/Track Review
Intelsat
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 15, 2018
Read World Gardens CD/LP/Track Review
World Gardens
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 14, 2018
Read "The Window" CD/LP/Track Review The Window
by Chris Mosey
Published: September 21, 2018
Read "3" CD/LP/Track Review 3
by Jim Worsley
Published: July 21, 2018
Read "Down Memory Lane, Vols 3 and 4" CD/LP/Track Review Down Memory Lane, Vols 3 and 4
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 17, 2018
Read "Elementals" CD/LP/Track Review Elementals
by Chris May
Published: April 18, 2018
Read "Love + Time + Divination" CD/LP/Track Review Love + Time + Divination
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2018
Read "Modern Lore" CD/LP/Track Review Modern Lore
by Gareth Thompson
Published: January 27, 2018