Monday, July 23, 2012

Ravi Coltrane: Spirit Fiction

"The implicit hope for 'Spirit Fiction,' Ravi Coltrane’s Blue Note debut, was that it would represent a clear step forward. By that token Mr. Coltrane, an unflappable tenor and soprano saxophonist who has made five previous albums over the last 15 years, succeeds handsomely here, delivering his most complete artistic statement, and one of his most self-possessed. Yet it’s instructive that progress, for Mr. Coltrane, involves taking stock of his own recent history, even bringing some of it back into play. 'Spirit Fiction' gives equal time to two pliable ensembles: the working quartet that Mr. Coltrane has led for much of the last decade, and a quintet featured on one of his earlier albums. Each band has its own stride, though Mr. Coltrane’s dry tone and sleek but undemonstrative style impose a sense of constancy and order. Call it counterintuitive, then, that Mr. Coltrane spends a good portion of this album subverting precise alignment. The title track overlays two separately recorded duo improvisations, by the dissected halves of his quartet. It’s an imperfect reconstitution, but the team — Mr. Coltrane on soprano, Luis Perdomo on piano, Drew Gress on bass and E. J. Strickland on drums — doesn’t sound disoriented so much as intuitively sparked, in the way that a blindfold sharpens the ear" (Nate Chinen, "New Albums," New York Times, 6/18/12).

View catalog record here!