The Jazzcat

Ravi Coltrane at Catalina’s Bar and Grill

by on Jul.25, 2007, under News

Slide Show
Saturday night and all is well here at Catalina’s Bar and

Grill, one of the finer establishments for jazz music here in Los Angeles. The first set is packed tonight

for Ravi Coltrane who has been performing since earlier in the week.


Usually when all of these musicians travel from city to

city, club-to-club etc, it takes a little time to adjust to the variables of

each environment. By the second or third day the band gets a feel for the

performance space, the audience and how their unique sound resonates inside the

different parameters. Ravi and his band seem

to have it all worked out!


I got there just as the band started to play. The rhythm

displays itself as a constant stream of melodic matter and Ravi

rides the ebbs and flows buoyantly beautiful. Warm and inviting is the temper

and tone of many of Ravi’s compositions and

his approach to the classic compositions as well. There is always a sense of

travel and movement stemming from a cool, calm and peaceful place. I would

imagine that those spiritual and musical crossroads are directly hereditary in




As many of you know or should know, Ravi,

the Coltrane family and the world has lost not only a mother and an outstanding

musician, but also a spiritual leader whose life was dedicated to peace and

blessings in the world and in the music with the passing of Alice

Coltrane.  The creative spirit of the

Coltrane dynasty lives on through one, in regards to jazz music, and there is

no doubt that there will be many music blessings yet to come.


I am too young to have ever had the opportunity to see, hear

and experience Trane live so, I can’t begin to tell you the similarities or

differences between the men. However, I will tell you that in no way has there

been a shadow cast musically. Ravi, although

love and respect are a given, has always played with an individuality that

stakes its own plot in the vast Coltrane legacy. There is even a Ravi twist on his dad’s composition that takes “Giant

Steps” of its own.


Ravi has a new album

entitled “In Flux” that features the cats playing this evening: Luis Perdomo on

piano, Drew Gress on bass and EJ Strickland on drums. The album was nominated

for a Grammy in 2006 and although the mantle still has a warm place, the

accolades and recognition do count for something in that professional world of

music, numbers, sales, bookings, tours and the whole bit. Any extra dollars

associated with jazz music is always a good thing. Taking home trophies is not

that energy that drives this band; only good musical chemistry, creative

approaches, and a respect for the past, now and future of this music. Tonight

the person who drove the furthest to get to the gig gets to take one home as a

special gift. Not an incentive, just a nice thank you!


Ravi’s wife is pregnant and

he told a story about her great Lebanese uncle Narcine from the old country

that everyone spoke so highly of but not many people actually knew because of

an untimely departure. Well, they named a song after him and who knows, perhaps

the name will take its claim on earth again soon!





If you don’t know by now the best way to experience this

music is to wear it, live it and be a part of its DNA. Buy the music of course

but, please go and experience the real. We as listeners contribute to the love

and heart of the music and without us the tree would still fall but… Ravi and I plan to have a conversation sometime in the

near future and we will get deep in cortex of a great tenor player, a warm

human being and beautiful musical spirit.


LeRoy Downs

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