The Ravi Coltrane Quartet

It’s hard enough to be a musician following in the same line of work as a famous parent — just ask Julian Lennon. But when dad was not just an innovator of a genre but a spiritual leader with an entire church based on his music, those are giant footsteps to fill. Fortunately, Ravi Coltrane — son of saxophonist John and the recently deceased pianist Alice — is clearly marking his own path as a tenor/soprano saxophonist, most recently on 2005’s In Flux.

Coltrane was a veteran sideman long before he formed his own quartet (with Luis Perdomo on piano, Drew Gress on bass and E.J. Strickland on drums), which has a mellow, understated style. Smooth, yes — but not “smooth” in the way the word has been hijacked by radio stations blaring blandness to offices and elevators around the country. Coltrane (actually named for sitar master Ravi Shankar) is also a generous bandleader, more of a featured ensemble player than a spotlight--hogging soloist.

And while he deeply appreciates the legacy and traditions of his father and other past greats, this Coltrane is not bound by them. “I’m not interested in jazz history…or holding up the banner of ‘keep jazz alive,’” he told Downbeat — that’s because music that isn’t “dead” needs no resurrection. 8 p.m. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. For information, call 713–524–5050 or visit $26.50 to $45.
Sat., Feb. 9, 8 p.m., 2008

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Bob Ruggiero has been writing about music, books, visual arts and entertainment for the Houston Press since 1997, with an emphasis on classic rock. He used to have an incredible and luxurious mullet in college as well. He is the author of the band biography Slippin’ Out of Darkness: The Story of WAR.
Contact: Bob Ruggiero