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Ravi Coltrane Article

Ed

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Staff member
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You couldn't blame Ravi Coltrane if he had decided years ago to never pick up a tenor saxophone, let alone play jazz.

As the son of John Coltrane - one of the true jazz legends to play that instrument - the comparisons between father and son would be inevitable. And that's a lot of weight for a young musician to carry.

However, Ravi Coltrane's performance Sunday at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts demonstrated that he has his own voice. He also doesn't try to distance himself from his father's legacy, he embraces it.


The rest of the article can be found at http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/ ... 05-ON.html
 

sideC

Artist in residence
Distinguished Member
I don't know if this is common knowledge, but Ravi has a brother who also plays the saxophone. I checked him out when I was working the "Song of the Underground Railroad" concert with Reggie Workman. Reggie was performing this in Philly a few years back, and he made it into a show which also featured Alice Coltrane. Alice used Ravi and her other saxophone playing son on her portion of the show. I didn't catch his name, but he played alto and seemed to be younger than Ravi. So I guess that you can say that Ravi comes from a musical family. :p
John Coltrane was a very family oriented man. I grew up musically in the Philly scene, and Trane's legacy was always within our grasp. John maintained the family residence on 33rd street even after he had moved to NYC. His cousin Mary Alexander, the Cousin Mary of minor blues fame, lived there until recently when she moved into an assisted care facility. His first wife, Naima, had two nephews, Earl and Carl Grubbs, who were highly skilled, and very advanced musicians who had a band, The Visitors, that played in the style and concept of John Coltrane. Earl played tenor and soprano, and Carl plays alto and soprano. Carl is still playing in the Baltimore MD area, Earl is deceased. Their band name came from the fact that their father would take them to NY to visit John at his home when they were beginners. They learned their craft at the knee of the master.
One thing that impressed me when I was a young professional in Philly in the early '70s, was the stories about Trane that the older musicians told me, stories that had to do with his humility and kindness, about his willingness to help musicians who no one else would even deal with, at a time when being hip and cool was in vogue, and sometimes being nice was thought of as being corny. I never heard even the most hardened, streetwise hipster say anything but positive, admiring things about John Coltrane.
So I think that Ravi comes about his humility naturally. Most likely traits inherited from his father, and instilled in him by his mother. He's a monster on his horn, but he seems to be a pretty regular guy off the stand. I always look foward to performing with him, he's a pleasure to be around.
 

Ed

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Even though I'm not a huge fan of Coltrane's tonal concept (too bright for me) I love his ideas and his creativity. I am also impressed with what I have read about the man himself and how he overcame his own personal demons and the depth of his thinking.

I really like Ravi's playing a lot and what I enjoy most about him is just taking him on his own terms. I think one of the things that all of us get to caught up in sometimes is the comparing game. I'm trying to get away from that and just take guys on their own merits and to see what they offer rather than comparing them to Lester Young, Zoot Sims, Stan Getz, John Coltrane, or Michael Brecker (this is just the partial tenor list).

That's some great insight from sideC . . . thanks!
 
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