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Ravi Coltrane Brings a Splendid Quintet to Jazz Standard

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Ravi Coltrane Quintet

Ravi Coltrane on Saxophones
Ralph Alessi on Trumpet
Aaron Parks on Piano
Bob Hurst on Bass
Jeff “Tain” Watts on Drums

Jazz Standard
116 East 27th Street, NYC

Press: April Thibeault

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
February 7, 2015

Tonight’s second set at Jazz Standard, featuring Ravi Coltrane’s quintet, opened with Ornette Coleman’s “Bird Food”. Mr. Coltrane’s sax and Ralph Alessi’s trumpet had a dynamic conversation, bringing in Jeff “Tain” Watts on drums. Brief brassy blasts created a rapid melody. The drums propelled the frenzied trumpet tempo, before Mr. Coltrane took a solo riff, with a titanic torrent of atonal waterfalls, grabbing the Standard’s attention. Aaron Parks’ piano interlude was joined by Mr. Watts’ cymbals and Bob Hurst’s mellow bass. The music took on a yearning momentum. Mr. Watts’ generous drum riffs, supported by bass, were contagious. Full blues ensued, led by Mr. Coltrane’s deep sax solo, lost in a midnight theme. Bass and piano beat the same rhythms in sync.

Next was Ravi Coltrane’s “Yellow Cat”, again opening with trumpet and sax. This was a melodic piece, with Mr. Coltrane, at this moment, on soprano sax for a sharper, tonal bite. This sax reached some of the highest notes imaginable, like an operatic soprano. Mr. Hurst’s bass theme was warm and textured, while Mr. Parks’ piano provided brief chords. The piece ended with a fused bass rhythm in a soft waltz motif. Charlie Haden’s “For Turiya”, dedicated to Ravi’s mother, Alice Coltrane, was originally released on bassist, Haden’s 1976 album, featuring Alice Coltrane on harp. Tonight the piece opened with exotic drama and sublime poignancy. This was a lush moment. Mr. Watt’s tropical percussion infused a transporting mood. A heavy echoing drum then took the music to dance imagery. Mr. Coltrane’s sax carried the full melody with sultriness.

The set ended with Thelonious Monk’s “Brilliant Corners”, with an arrangement by tonight’s drummer, Mr. Watts. The introduction was powerfully vibrant and upbeat, with Mr. Alessi’s sensational trumpet solo, bopping and hip. Mr. Coltrane’s sax raced about through the fragmented theme. A drum-bass-piano rhythm followed for a trio interlude, before Mr. Watts let loose on a wild drum riff that brought the crowd to vocal cheers.

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at