Ravi Coltrane – Spirit Fiction – Blue Note

by | Aug 2, 2013 | Jazz CD Reviews

Ravi Coltrane – Spirit Fiction – Blue Note 50999 18937 2 7 ****:

(Ravi Coltrane, tenor & alto sax, mixing; Joe Lovano, tenor saxophone; Luis Perdomo, piano; Drew Gress, bass; E.J. Strickland, drums; Ralph Alessi, bass; Geri Allen, piano; James Genus, bass; Eric Harland, drums)

It seems long overdue for Ravi Coltrane to have a Blue Note release. It may be the name alone that carries such heft – after all, Coltrane’s father, John (who died when he was two), did make (literally, and figuratively) Giant Steps.

If part of Ravi Coltrane’s musical endeavors has been to carve his own path, the saxophone player is undeniably successful. He has been a sideman, session player, producer, musical ambassador (2005’s US State Department tour of India), and archivist of sorts (most notably on 2009’s Mosaic: A Celebration of Blue Note Records with The Blue Note 7). On this, his sixth record as a bandleader, Coltrane expands his legacy with an album of beauty, soul, joy and bravery.

Sequenced in homage to traditional LPs, the CD kicks in with “Roads Cross,” and “flips sides” at track 7, “Cross Roads.” This multi-layered wordplay acknowledges Coltrane’s deep appreciation for blues, as well as his uncanny ability to blend genres and mix skill sets. From frenetic bop to brief improv flirtations, from evocative and eloquent collaborations to soulful and reflective ruminations, Spirit Fiction sounds fun and accessible. Most importantly, it sounds absolutely beautiful.

Roads Cross; Klepto; Spirit Fiction; The Change, My Girl; Who Wants Ice Cream; Spring & Hudson; Cross Roads; Yellow Cat; Check Out Time; Fantasm; Marilyn & Tammy

—Mark Woodlief

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