Friday, 2 October 2009

One Step Beyond Special Edition: Rashied Ali Tribute (September 2009)

Photograph of Rashied Ali by Francis Wolff

I put this show together a few days ago (hence the 'September' reference, even though we're in October now I've finally got round to posting it). The track with James Blood Ulmer is particularly interesting, though I was only able to play part of it in order to keep things down to two hours. Try and track down the whole record if you can: MP3s can be downloaded from Rashied Ali's official website.


* To listen to the show, click on the blog-post title, which should take you over to the relevant site. (Free registration is required for streaming and downloading.)*

Drummer Rashied Ali died last month. Most famous for playing with John Coltrane’s late groups, and for performing on the only duo album Coltrane ever recorded, ‘Interstellar Space’, he went on to appear on many fine free jazz recordings of the late 60s and to play a key role in the ‘Loft Jazz’ scene in New York during the 70s, establishing his own performance space, Ali’s Alley, and his own recording label, Survival Records. Playing until just a few weeks before his unexpected death of a heart attack, he always remained a superb duo player, as witnessed by recordings and performances with Frank Lowe, Leroy Jenkins, Sonny Fortune and Henry Grimes. In addition, he continued to perform the music of John Coltrane with the group Prima Materia, and was part of the explosive trio By Any Means, alongside William Parker and Charles Gayle. Whilst seeking to honour his legacy, this programme is also intended as a reminder that, while the music of Ali and so many great musicians like him still remains endlessly rewarding, it will not do simply to look back with nostalgia and fond regret at the music of those who have passed on; for Ali embodied a spirit of discovery, of experimentation and of deep commitment, which is first and foremost a living spirit, a conception of music as a life force and as a part of lived life, of music as organic and flowing and never-ending.

song is a bolt of light –
being messenger of that light
is no task for those not in touch-
ing distance of all that weight-
less weight, their pasts as now,
worn so lightly, the cloak thrown
not away, but draped to conduct
energy, past prisms of tradition into
light, radiant unsmiling, grave
laughter that will rise again,
ascend always
out of the earth.



Rashied Ali - Solo Drums Improvisation, Moers Festival, 1979 (excerpt)
ALBUM – Unreleased Live Recording

John Coltrane – Venus
John Coltrane (tenor sax, bells) Rashied Ali (drums)
ALBUM – Interstellar Space (Impulse Records, 1974 (recorded 1967))

John Coltrane – Expression
John Coltrane (tenor sax) Alice Coltrane (piano) Jimmy Garrison (bass) Rashied Ali (drums, percussion)
ALBUM – Expression (Impulse Records, 1967)

Alice Coltrane – Via Sivanandagar
Alice Coltrane (piano) Ron Carter (bass) Rashied Ali (drums)
ALBUM – Huntingdon Ashram Monastery (Impulse Records, 1969)

Marion Brown Quartet – Why Not?
Marion Brown (alto sax) Stanley Cowell (piano) Sirone (bass) Rashied Ali (drums)
ALBUM – Why Not? (ESP Disk, 1966)


Frank Lowe/Rashied Ali – Duo Exchange, Part One
Frank Lowe (tenor sax) Rashied Ali (drums)
ALBUM – Duo Exchange (Survival Records, 1972)

Leroy Jenkins/Rashied Ali – Swift are the Winds of Life
Leroy Jenkins (violin) Rashied Ali (drums)
ALBUM – Swift are the Winds of Life (Survival Records, 1973)

Rashied Ali Quintet – Address (Adrees) (excerpt)
Earl Cross (trumpet) Bob Ralston (tenor sax) James ‘Blood’ Ulmer (guitar) John Dani (bass) Rashied Ali (drums)
ALBUM - Rashied Ali Quintet (Survival Records, 1973)

Touchin’ On Trane, Part A (excerpt)
Charles Gayle (sax) William Parker (bass) Rashied Ali (drums)
ABLUM – Touchin’ on Trane (FMP, 1991)

This Must Always Have Happened (excerpt)
Henry Grimes (voice, violin, bass) Rashied Ali (drums)
ALBUM – Going to the Ritual (Porter Records, 2008)

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