Ravi Coltrane tonight
I pulled into a great parking spot, then I noticed an even better one, the same spot I'd occupied the evening before at the Randy Weston gig, Weston another great pianist. But as I was already a tad late I decided to let my car stay the two blocks away and head inside.
The club was comfortably filled. I got a seat in a booth and the set hadn't started yet. Yes, of course they were waiting for me.
It was perfect. My companion loved the band, his exclamations of "Right on!" "Yes!" and other more articulate grunts and shouts kept me alert and wondering if he'd also been at the first set.
The band was great, bandleader Ralph Alessi, trumpet, is a good writer and the music was relaxing while at the same time an intellectual challenge that could swing.
I was tired so I didn't stay around to greet Andy, but as I left the club, Ravi was standing out back talking to someone. I greeted him and he said that this tour was the first since his mom had passed.
I had to get back out there. He admitted more like a question.
Of course, I responded, as I noticed the difficulty evident in his shielded eyes, rounded shoulders and covered head--he wasn't the same man I'd greeted after the phenomenally spiritually uplifting performance at SFJAZZ last year with his mother on organ accompanied by Roy Haynes on drums and Tom Haden on bass. The awesome Ben Street was on bass Monday night.
Visit Alessi at http://www.ralphalessi.com/