Saturday, September 23, 2017

John Coltrane Day 2017

We partied John Coltrane into Saturday, September 23, what would have been the great composer, musician, human being's 91st birthday.  Friday night, his friend and band mate, Ferrell "Pharoah" Sanders brought his quartet to SFJAZZ, part of a week long series of concerts curated by Coltrane's son, Ravi Coltrane, who by the way, joined Sanders during the second half of the program for a duet. 
There are two more concerts in the series, tonight at 7 and 9:30 p.m. featuring: 2016 Grammy nominee, Ravi Coltrane, Nicholas Payton, trailblazing guitarist Adam Rogers, bass star Matthew Garrison (son of John Coltrane Quartet bassist Jimmy Garrison), and the acclaimed drummer Marcus Gilmore, grandson of jazz legend and John Coltrane collaborator Roy Haynes. The ensemble will perform the 1964 masterpiece, A Love Supreme

Tomorrow night the show is a nod to the 2016 ECM release In Movement for which Ravi Coltrane recieved the Grammy nomination for Best Improvised Jazz Solo. He is joined by Legendary drummer Jack DeJohnette who performed with John Coltrane early in his career and Matthew Garrison, the son of John Coltrane Quartet bassist Jimmy Garrison. The show is at 7 p.m. Sept. 24.

Always gracious, even when people project his father onto him, Ravi is a consummate artist whose expansive body of work continues a legacy or inheritance from both mom and dad, Alice and John Coltrane. The last concert she played with Ravi, Charlie Haden, and Roy Haynes was one of those special moments, I was happy to be present. I remember looking down on the floor where she sat at the organ.

I felt the same kind of energy, that is, I was happy to be in the room, when Dewey Redman was in concert with his son, Joshua Redman. It was the senior Redman's birthday too and I recall going back stage to meet him and being invited to the party. Sweet man.  I met his widow again when I was in New York at a concert series featuring the many musical faces of Wadada Leo Smith.

But back to Friday night. Everyone was in the house. I immediately spotted Arch Bishop Fanzo in the lobby with his wife. He had his soprano saxophone in a music case for Ravi to borrow. Since the concert was sold out, they were waiting to be seated. I hope they got in.  Sunday at Saint John Will I Am Coltrane African Orthodox Church-Jurisdiction West, 2097 Turk Street, San Francisco will be the 
Annual Manifestation Day Celebration from 12-4 p.m. Everyone is welcome to the free event

Back stage later on were Pharoah's daughters and granddaughter; former wife and friend, Shukuru Sanders; other friends, among them, Kash Killion and Gary Bartz and a wonderful artist who presented the giant with a collage she'd made of his image.

The set opened and closed with the original, "The Creator Has a Master Plan," followed by other classics I knew but couldn't name. I will have to get back to you on the set list (smile). Always participatory the audience was encouraged to clap as Pharoah danced. He looked great that evening dressed in blues, the color both illuminating and effervescent -- radiant.
Playing tenor with perhaps one of the most celebrated tenor saxophonists alive, Ravi Coltrane held his own as Sanders soloed and then left center stage to Coltrane who bent sound, repackaging his dad, John Coltrane's "Ole," in a way that was both familiar and startling new. 


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