Rashied Ali is a progenitor and leading exponent of
multidirectional rhythms/polytonal percussion. A student of
Philly Joe Jones and an admirer of Art Blakey, Ali developed
the style known as "free jazz" drumming, which liberates the
percussionist from the role of human metronome. The
drummer interfaces both rhythmically and melodically with
the music, utilizing meter and sound in a unique fashion.
This allows the percussionist to participate in the music in a
harmonic sense, coloring both the rhythm and tonality with
his personal perception. By adding his voice to the
ensemble, the percussionist becomes an equal in the
melodics of collective musical creation rather than a "pot
banger" who keeps the others all playing at the same speed.
Considered radical in the 1960s and scorned by the
mediocre, multidirectional rhythms, polytonal drumming is
now the landmark of the jazz percussionist.
A Philadelphia native, Rashied Ali began his percussion
career in the U.S