I keep wondering what a burden and a responsibility is for an artist to carry the name of a famous father. It’s a great responsibility, it also may be a heavy burden, as people looking or listening to his art (and it does not matter that much if it is music, or painting, or other forms of art expression) cannot and will not avoid making comparisons. Ravi Coltrane was only 2 years old when his famous father died and being the son of one of the most famous saxophonists and composers in the history of jazz must have been a mixed blessing – opening him doors and ears, but also calling for the permanent comparison, especially as Ravi chose the same instrument as a way of expression. While he refused for a long time to embrace the repertoire of his father, he does not seem to have escaped his musical influence. Now, when he crossed the line of the number of years lived by his father and is an accomplished and recognized name of his own, he can trace back his artistic influences to a number of musicians at their peak between the 50s and the 70s, names like Miles Davis, Bill Evans, and yes - John Coltrane.




It’s the third time that Ravi Coltrane comes to Tel Aviv, it is the first time I had the opportunity of seeing and listening to him live. He is one of these musicians who does not try to dominate the stage. The whole set was composed out of five or six pieces, around twenty minutes each, leaving time for all the members of the quintet to bring in their talent and to develop their own versions of the theme in a free manner. Ravi even leaves the stage most of the time when he does not play trying to enhance the vision of a performance as a team work. In this Ravi Coltrane Quintet the emphasis is not on Ravi Coltrane but on the Quintet, a fine gathering of free-style post-bop musicians.


(video source Zycopolis)


To understand Ravi Coltrane’s music I am bringing here one of the pieces that I found on youTube with Ravi playing with McCoy Tyner. The great pianist who is now 85 and still active (I saw him in Israel last year) was a member in John Coltrane’s most famous band in the 60s. Kind of a living link connecting the two Coltrane generations.


(video source music1900jbp)


The other exquisite artist in his band is trumpeter Ralph Alessi, who also composed some of the pieces on their most recent album Spirit Fiction, including the piece above, which was also played Tuesday in Tel Aviv, at the Zappa Club.


(video source Gadi Lehavi Videos)


For the last piece, Ravi invited on stage the young pianist Gadi Lehavi, who who will be 17 next week. He played on stage with Ravi  – what a great opportunity for this young artist, who is already active for three years on the Israeli and world jazz stage. It’s actually not their first encounter, Ravi discovered Gadi a few years ago, they already played together in New York at the Village Vanguard and Birdland jazz clubs. Gadi also played already with a number of other well known contemporary artist, among which Chick Corea and Bobby McFerrin.