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The intricately powerful drummer of John Coltrane's final phase, and two tear-it-up 20-something players—tenor saxophonist Lawrence Clark and Seattle-reared trumpeter Jumaane Smith—distill 40 years of jazz history, and take the next giant steps.
Ali had become one of the first "free-jazz" drummers who had converted the kit from metronome to far more expressive voice when Coltrane invited him to join his group, which already boasted the titan drummer, Elvin Jones. Ali, a Philly native, had been making a name on the New York avant-garde scene working with the likes of Don Cherry, Pharoah Sanders, Paul Bley, Archie Shepp, Bill Dixon, and Albert Ayler, and had been sitting in with Coltrane's group.
The rest is history. He and Coltrane would eventually play in epochal duo recordings of the highest order.
After Coltrane died in 1967, Ali played in New York with Shepp and other emerging leaders of the progressive scene, including Sonny Fortune and the much-undersung, highly evolved tenor man, Frank Lowe. Ali also led his own quartet.
He has always paid particular attention to younger players on the rise, and his presentation here will be no exception. Trumpeter Jumaane Smith, who came up in Seattle and went on, while at Juilliard, to become a protégé of Wynton Marsalis, is, like bandmate tenor saxophonist Lawrence Clark, staking a claim in New York. Both are formidable players and fine composers. Smith has been likened to "a young Woody Shaw" while Clark can "reproduce Trane's early tone with unearthly accuracy" (Dusted magazine).
They make thrilling music as they perform originals and tunes by the likes of Frank Lowe, Don Cherry, and Thelonious Monk.
Official Website: http://earshot.org/fest/artistinfo/rashiedali.html
Added by earshot on October 23, 2006