EDINBURGH JAZZ FESTIVAL
Edinburgh: Liquid Rooms, Tue 3 Aug, 8pm.
As a tenor and soprano saxophonist playing jazz, Ravi Coltrane carries a complex inheritance. He did not grow up in the literal shadow of his father — John Coltrane died in 1967, when Ravi was only two - but he bears that huge weight of expectation regardless. While never pushed into following in those footsteps, he confirms that his mother, pianist and composer Alice Coltrane, ensured that the music was ever present in the lives of the family.
'It was never presented to us as something we had to do, but it was always there for us, and if it turned out to be something we wanted, that was up to us. People always ask me what it was like being John Coltrane's son, but my connection with him is kind of mysterious. I do have feelings for the father I never really knew, and from things I grew up with in the family. At the same time, I have very strong feelings for John Coltrane the saxophonist; but we all have the same access to the music he left.’
Touring with his mother and brother Oran in a Coltrane tribute in
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1987, and then joining drummer Elvin Jones’s Jazz Machine in 1990 all served to keep the comparisons with his father bubbling furiously. When Elvin called, Ravi admits he didn't feel ready for a commitment so weighted with historical implications; but it proved a valuable experience.
‘I told Elvin I wasn‘t ready. The Coltrane connection seemed a bit too bizarre — it was hard to look at Elvin and not think of Trane, but he just said "don't worry about it." He wanted to help me, and I was wrong, although I have to admit I was struggling a lot of the time in that
The saxophonist played at the Glasgow Jazz Festival during his two-year stint with Elvin, and gave little indication that he would emerge as his own man. Nonetheless, it established him on the New York scene, and he developed his art with players like Geri Allen and Steve Coleman.
That progress was reflected in the coherent and creatively adventurous playing on last year's excellent debut album, Moving Pictures (RCA), which seemed a notable shift to a higher level of achievement. For many, it marked his emergence from under that giant shadow. He is definitely out on his own now, and maybe this is where the
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hard part really begins. (Kenny Mathieson)
David Sanchez Liquid Rooms: Sun J Aug, 8pm.
Davrd Sanchez has found a lllt he which separates his music from the Current glut of hot young Jazz tenor saxophonists He didn't have to look too far to find it — his native Pueito Rico and the broader Caribbean and Latin American traditions prowded the raw material but he did have to work out his ()\.\’ll way of approaching it.
'l’ve tried to bring in inoie of my roots, to use that rhythmic baSlS, but With the Jazz tradition in there, too. It’s basically dealing With things like the way you adjust the phrasing of the music tO fit the rhythms, and also the feeling, the way you feel the mUSlC. There wasn't really a tradition of playing Jd// in Puerto Rico, and the guys who made it in JdZZ basically
grew tip in the USA — I'm thinking of players like Juan Tizol from the Ellington band, or Hilton RUiz and Eddie Gomez ’
Sanchez signed to Columbia in 1994 after a valuable stint in Dizzy Gillespie's United Nation Big Band, and the development of his paiticular take on Latin-Jazz fusion (an be traced across his four albums for the label. The deepenii'ig and intensifying of his explorations culminated (so far at least) in the exclusiver Latin programme of the vibrant, sensuous ObseSion last year, featuring the music of Puerto Rican composers like Pedro Flores, Rafael Hernandez and Bobby Capo.
He Will be heard With his own band, btit Will also link up With Bobby Watson and the Paul Hairison Trio (Liquid Rooms, Sat 3) Jul, 8pm) in an intriguing one- off date (Kenny Mathieson)
Counting House: Tue 3 Aug, 8pm. The Hub1Wed 4 Aug, 12.30pm.
Ingrid Jensen makes her Scottish debut at the festival, but the Canadian-born trumpet player is no stranger to Europe. She has been turning heads with her playing for some time now, but made her crucial breakthrough in distinctly unconventional fashion when she turned her back on the rOugh and tumble of the New York Jazz scene and headed for Vienna, where she was featured in the innovative Vienna Ait Orchestra's production Fe + Ma/es
She was taken on as a teacher at the Anton Bruckner Conservatory for a time as well, but never passed up on a Chance to Sit in With passing American musicians. Her prowess eventually came to the attention of the Munich- based enja records, a maior player on the Jazz scene, and she has now recorded a series of well-received discs for them, including her brand new album, Higher Grounds
Like its predecessors, it showcases her ability to play in a whole range of styles and moods, from soft and gentle through to fire-spitting ferocity. Jensen is well aware of the macho dSSOClaLIOJlS Which cling to the trumpet in Jazz circles (not to mention the grudging 'not bad for a girl' school of thought), but she has nothing to prove to even the most hidebound.
’I know that if you ask the average guy in the street what they think a Jazz trumpeter is, they’re not going to say a blonde-haired white girl from Canada. I've never really thought in those terms, though. I see the trumpet as an extension of my VOICE. Everyone has a masculine and feminine side - if I think a piece should $0und masculine, I’ll play it that way, but if it calls for openness and sensitive shadings, I'll do that, too. Not because I want to play like a woman — because I want to play like Ingrid Jensen.’
Jensen Will bring her own band to the Festival, but in keeping With the modernist players this year, she Will also feature in several other contexts, including fascinating encounters With saxophonists Greg Osby and Tommy Smith (see listings for details).