The Ravi Coltrane Quartet
Ravi Coltrane, tenor and saxophones; Orrin Evans, piano; Dezron Douglas, bass; Kush Abadey, drummer
Ravi Coltrane is more than the scion of spiritual jazz’s first family. The son of saxophone bellwether John Coltrane and fusion paragon Alice Coltrane, Ravi was not yet two when his father died. Still, in the subsequent five decades, he has inherited and cherished the call to push jazz ahead, honoring and preserving its past while ever aiming for its next step.
Even as he foregrounds his own development and eschews any attempt to recreate the hallowed jazz past, Ravi Coltrane knows as well as anyone the importance of the music’s lineage. Reflecting on the place of Ornette and Motian, and implicitly his father, in the story of his own career, Ravi concludes: “If it weren’t for those guys, we wouldn’t be here.”
In 1991, his father's renowned drummer, Elvin Jones, saw in Ravi an emergent authentic performer, and hired Ravi to play with his band. After his tenure with Elvin, Ravi found himself working alongside a list of names that reads like the Who's Who of American Jazz and Pop, including McCoy Tyner, Pharaoh Sanders, Carlos Santana, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, and John McLaughlin just to name a few. Indeed, Ravi's credits include recording on well over thirty recordings as a sideman. .
His own albums have embraced his father’s searching approach to the saxophone while reconsidering song structures, warping expectations, and rewriting rules. In 2018, Coltrane oversaw the release of a glorious lost album from his father’s archives while co-writing an arrangement of the Beatles’ “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!” with dazzling young jazz harpist Brandee Younger. More than a scion, Coltrane is a direct arrow between jazz’s past, present, and future.
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.