ravi coltrane

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Ravi Coltrane: In Flux (SLG)

Ravi Coltrane: In Flux (SLG)

Now in his early 40s this tenor and soprano saxophonist has taken his time to emerge, but then again there was a huge shadow cast over his life. His father was jazz legend John and his mother the pianist/composer Alice. Not that he seems to have suffered unduly by these possibly career-crushing associations (there is an interesting...

Eric Dolphy: Out to Lunch (1964)

Eric Dolphy: Out to Lunch (1964)

The sudden and unexpected death of saxophonist/flute player and clarinettist Eric Dolphy just months after these exceptional studio sessions for the Blue Note label robbed jazz of one of its most distinctive voices, and left many questions hanging about where the 36-year old might have taken his music. Already he had worked with Charles...

CHARLIE PARKER: A life and musical shards of light

CHARLIE PARKER: A life and musical shards of light

Jazz trumpeter Miles Davis in his characteristically clipped manner once observed that “the history of jazz can be told in four words: Louis Armstrong – Charlie Parker.” In offering those two names Davis highlighted two vastly different lives and two facets of genius. Armstrong was undoubtedly one of the great artists...

RAVI COLTRANE INTERVIEWED 2007: First rays of the new rising son

RAVI COLTRANE INTERVIEWED 2007: First rays of the new rising son

If musical talent is in the genes then Ravi Coltrane was twice blessed: his father was the legendary tenor saxophonist John Coltrane whose spiritual and searching bebop redefined jazz in the late 50s and 60s; and his mother was the gifted pianist/composer Alice who played in her husband’s group and whose own creative contributions have...

WYNTON MARSALIS INTERVIEWED (2000): Once more, back to the future

WYNTON MARSALIS INTERVIEWED (2000): Once more, back to the future

To refer to Wynton Marsalis as a jazz musician is to unintentionally diminish him. Certainly he plays jazz trumpet, has released a couple of dozen albums in the idiom, was the catalyst for and focal point of a renaissance of jazz in the 80s and is musical director for the prestigious Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra in New York.Yes, Marsalis is a...

THELONIOUS MONK AND JOHN COLTRANE IN 1957: Genius loves company

THELONIOUS MONK AND JOHN COLTRANE IN 1957: Genius loves company

Thelonious Sphere Monk was one of the most gifted -- and eccentric -- of all jazz musicians. The memorably named pianist/composer, who died in 1982 aged 64, helped define the bebop movement and his quirky, angular compositions are among the most memorable in jazz. To drive them home he gave them titles such as Epistrophy, Humph,...

Alice Coltrane: A Monastic Trio (Impulse)

Alice Coltrane: A Monastic Trio (Impulse)

An excellent and intelligent reissue of late-60s recordings by the much underrated pianist/harpist widow of jazz sax legend John Coltrane which includes tracks from two albums, Cosmic Music and A Monastic Trio, and resequences them to shift from quartet to piano trio to harp trio. And it goes out on a previously unissued solo piano piece she...

RAVI SHANKAR (1920 - 2012): More Than One Lifetime

RAVI SHANKAR (1920 - 2012): More Than One Lifetime

My collection of schoolboy poetry which I would agonise over late at night, laboriously using my Scripto fountain pen and Radiant Blue ink, has long since vanished. Thank God. I’m sure it was full of adolescent anxieties -- one “poem” was about Oedipus, about whom I knew nothing other than I liked the name. But one piece...

MILES DAVIS, ON THE CORNER: The man with the bellbottoms

MILES DAVIS, ON THE CORNER: The man with the bellbottoms

The cliche has become so embedded that hardly anyone questions it: “indie label good, major label bad”.   As with most generalisations it doesn’t support much scrutiny: small indie labels may be more comfortable for musicians because they know the boss, but they can also be woefully amateurish, financially incompetent...

BEN WEBSTER AND ART TATUM: Genius loves company

BEN WEBSTER AND ART TATUM: Genius loves company

 In my experience, jazz people tend to live in the past. Radio programmes are more often about the greats of yesteryear than the living, jazz mags essay Ellington over ECM, and in any given year you get the clear message that record companies are more interested in reissues than recording new names. Jazz musicians too contribute to this:...

Ornette Coleman, The Shape of Jazz to Come (1959)

Ornette Coleman, The Shape of Jazz to Come (1959)

Recently I was asked if I would contribute a page to a monthly magazine on famous musicians I had met. That part was easy, I've met quite a few. But then the person said they would like to run the article with some photographs of me with such stars. "You must have hundreds," he said. I had to disappoint him: I always saw my role as...

Loka: Fire Shepherds (Ninja Tune/Flavour)

Loka: Fire Shepherds (Ninja Tune/Flavour)

This duo out of Liverpool spring a real surprise on their debut album: it is cinematic-sounding electronica but much of it -- after the gritty sci-fi sonics of the opening two tracks -- is clearly influenced by the expansive mid 60s jazz sounds of John Coltrane (long and loping rhythms) and the early 70s urgency of Miles Davis when he hooked up...

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