AUGUST 6, 2012
BY: MICHAEL NANK
After just getting back to Seattle from spending time at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival I wondered if I might experience a jazz drought of sorts. It was possible, given that Vancouver brings in some of the best jazz musicians to the Pacific Northwest for a 10-day fest every year unparalleled in this region. (Here is one of my jazz dispatches from this year’s fest.)
Fortunately, this summer of Seattle jazz proved to be drought-proof thanks to Ravi Coltrane’s two-day stint at Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley.
Coltrane stopped by the Emerald City in support of his most recent effort, Spirit Fiction, which marks his debut outing with Blue Note Records. But before he busted out any new works from his latest release, Coltrane grabbed his soprano sax and eased into the night’s 100-minute set with the Johnny Mercer, Jerome Kern classic composition “I’m Old Fashioned.” That his father, John Coltrane, made a memorable recording of this track back in 1957 was not lost on the near capacity crowd.
The set kicked into high gear as Coltrane leaned into his horn and wasted no notes on “Who Wants Ice Cream,” which shares a track on Spirit Fiction, before his band settled back into the Thelonious Monk composition “Epistrophy.”
A highlight of the evening was “For Turiya” which Charlie Hayden had written for, and performed with, Ravi’s mother Alice Coltrane in 1976. Ravi went on to make a recording of “For Turiya” with Hayden after Alice’s passing in 2007. Coltrane’s rendition on this night brought with it all of the deliberate and poignant lines that evoked the spirit of Alice Coltrane and echoed back to both his earlier recording with Hayden as well as Hayden’s original tracks with Alice.
It is clear that Ravi relishes in his time on the Jazz Alley stage. Between numbers Coltrane recounted memories of his previous gigs in Seattle — all the way back to his first time on stage at Jazz Alley in 1991 when he was performing with Elvin Jones.
Thankfully he keeps coming back for more. This time around Coltrane brought a relatively new group of band members along with him (at least playing together in this quartet) including David Virelles (piano), Hans Glawichnig (bass) and E.J. Strickland (drums).
Sweat soaked in the end there was never a doubt that Coltrane and his quartet left nothing up on stage as the final notes of Bob Dorough’s “Nothing Like You” rang out – leaving the Seattle jazz scene a verdant place indeed.
Check out www.ravicoltrane.com for additional info on Spirit Fiction and his other works that span over the past 20-plus years.Back to main page