Photo by Michael Weintrob
Acclaimed saxophonist Ravi Coltrane reimagines the spiritual and ecstatic music of two jazz pioneers.
Ravi Coltrane, critically acclaimed Grammy™ nominated saxophonist, bandleader, and composer, explores the groundbreaking, mystical, and spiritual jazz of his parents, John and Alice Coltrane, in a contemporary dive into their pioneering work. He is joined on stage by his quartet: Gadi Lehavi on piano, Rashaan Carter on bass, Elé Howell on drums.
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Ravi Coltrane is a critically acclaimed Grammy nominated saxophonist, bandleader, and composer. In the course of a twenty plus year career, Mr. Coltrane has worked as a sideman to many, and recorded noteworthy albums for himself and others.
Ravi has released six albums as a leader. His albums include, Moving Pictures, From The Round Box, Mad 6, In Flux, Blending Times, and Spirit Fiction. He also has collaborated on various albums, including, Seraphic Light with Joe Lovano and David Liebman, In Movement with Jack DeJohnette and Matthew Garrison, and The Blue Note’s 70th Anniversary recording, Mosaic: A Celebration of Blue Note. Additional credits include performances as well as recordings with Elvin Jones, Terence Blanchard, Kenny Baron, Steve Coleman, McCoy Tyner, Jack DeJohnette, Matt Garrison, Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts, Geri Allen, Joanne Brackeem, The Blue Note 7, among others.
Born in Long Island, the second son of John Coltrane and Alice Coltrane, Ravi was named after Indian sitar legend Ravi Shankar. He was raised in Los Angeles where his family moved after his father’s death in 1967. His mother, Alice Coltrane, was a significant influence on Ravi and it was he who encouraged Alice to return to performance and the recording studio after a long absence. Subsequently, Ravi produced and played on Alice Coltrane’s powerful, Translinear Light, which was released in 2004.
Ravi lives in Brooklyn, NY and maintains a fast paced touring, recording, composing and performance schedule. He leads the effort to restore the John Coltrane Home in Dix Hills, Long Island www.thecoltranehome.org and presides over important reissues of his parent’s recordings.
Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda was an American jazz pianist, organist, harpist, singer, composer, swamini, and the wife of John Coltrane. Turiyasangitananda translates as the Transcendental Lord’s highest song of Bliss. Born in Detroit, Michigan in 1937 to Solon and Annie McLeod, Alice was the fifth of six children. Her interest in music blossomed in early childhood. By the age of nine, she played organ during services at Mount Olive Baptist church.
In the early 60’s she began playing jazz as a professional in Detroit with her own trio and as a duo with vibist Terry Pollard. Alice would collaborate and perform with Kenny Clarke, Kenny Burrell, Ornette Coleman, Pharaoh Sanders, Charlie Haden, Roy Haynes, Jack DeJonette, and Carlos Santana. Many people are unaware that she replaced McCoy Tyner as pianist with the John Coltrane quartet and continued to play and record with the band until John’s death in 1967.
Alice’s interest in gospel, classical, and jazz music led to the creation of her own innovative style. Her talents were expressed more fully when she became a solo recording artist. Her proficiency on keyboard, organ, and harp was remarkable. Later her natural musical artistry matured into amazing arrangements and compositions. Her twenty recordings cover a time span from Monastic Trio (1968) to Translinear Light (2004).
Alice and John Coltrane married in 1965. Together they embarked on a deeply spiritual journey of musical exploration and forged a new genre of musical expression. After John’s passing, Alice was left to raise their four small children — Michelle, John Jr., Ravi, and Oran.
Around the late 60’s, Alice entered into a most significant time in her life. As a seeker of spiritual truth, she spent focused time in isolation — fasting, praying, and meditating. In 1970 she met a guru, Swami Satchidananda. She traveled to India, and was divinely called into God’s service. Alice dedicated her life to God and came to be known as Turiyasangitananda.
Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda became the Founder and Director of The Vedantic Center in 1975, and later established a spiritual community in the Santa Monica Mountains of Southern California. She would orate discourses and play organ to lead the members in devotional song for Sunday services.
A.C. Turiyasangitananda, known as Swamini to many, left her physical form January 12, 2007.
Born September 23, 1926 in Hamlet, North Carolina. Died July 17, 1967 at Huntington Hospital in Long Island NY. Coltrane grew up in High Point NC, moving to Philadelphia PA in June 1943. He was inducted into the Navy in 1945, returning to civilian life in 1946. Coltrane worked a variety of jobs through the late forties until (still an alto saxophonist) he joined Dizzy Gillespie’s big band in 1949. He stayed with Gillespie through the band’s breakup in May 1950 and (now on tenor saxophone) worked with Gillespie’s small group until April 1951, when he returned to Philadelphia to go to school.
In early 1952 he joined Earl Bostic’s band, and in 1953 he joined Johnny Hodges’s small group (during that saxophonist’s short sabbatical from Duke Ellington’s orchestra), staying until mid 1954. Although there are recordings of Coltrane from as early as 1946, his real career spans the twelve years between 1955 and 1967, during which time he reshaped modern jazz and influenced generations of other musicians. Coltrane was freelancing in Philadelphia in the summer of 1955 when he received a call from trumpeter Miles Davis. Davis, whose success during the late forties had been followed by several years of decline, was again active, and was about to form a quintet. Coltrane was with this first edition of the Davis group from October 1955 through April 1957 (with a few absences), a period which saw influential recordings from Davis and the first signs of Coltrane’s ability. This classic First Quintet, best represented by two marathon recording sessions for Prestige in 1956, disbanded in mid-April. During the latter part of 1957 Coltrane worked with Thelonious Monk at New York’s Five Spot, a legendary gig. He rejoined Miles in January 1958, staying until April 1960, during which time he participated in such seminal Davis sessions as Milestones and Kind Of Blue, and recorded his own influential sessions (notably Giant Steps).
Coltrane’s first working quartet took the stage in April 1960; pianist McCoy Tyner joined the band in mid 1960 (replacing Steve Kuhn), and Elvin Jones came on board in the fall, in time for marathon sessions for Atlantic which produced Coltrane’s “hit” recording My Favorite Things. By early 1961 Coltrane had signed with the new Impulse label; his first project was a seminal orchestral recording, the Africa/Brass sessions. Coltrane’s quartet (with Tyner, Jones and bassist Reggie Workman) was joined by multi-instrumentalist Eric Dolphy for a variety of recordings and appearances, and Dolphy joined the band permanently in September, in a group that created considerable controversy. The sound of that band is amply documented in the four nights recorded at the Village Vanguard in New York City in November 1961 (available in its entirety in a box set released in 1997), along with recordings from their subsequent tour of Europe and a spring 1962 Birdland broadcast. Dolphy left the group in April 1962, and for a variety of reasons Coltrane’s output during 1962 was more conservative. The year however is marked by several significant recordings (a Ballads album and a joint session with Duke Ellington). The Crescent session from mid-1964 is notable, but the peak of Coltrane’s output arguably is the prodigious amount of music recorded between December 1964 (the classic suite A Love Supreme) and November of 1965 (Meditations), including a variety of exceptional small group sessions and the “new music summit” Ascension.
By January 1966 the classic John Coltrane Quartet was no more, the internal tension of Coltrane’s quest for new directions having brought Tyner and Jones to depart. The last group, with Coltrane’s wife Alice on piano and Rashied Ali on drums (plus bassist Jimmy Garrison) is well represented by recordings of concerts in Japan and a variety of small group sessions from early 1967.
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