Impressions of Rashied Ali
August 13, 2009. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
Sad news to report. Rashied Ali has died. Information is spare, but it has been confirmed on his website.
I can remember first hearing Rashied like many jazz lovers - by consuming vast amounts of the recorded legacy of John Coltrane. I followed Trane to the end, including every note that followed the dissolution of the famous quartet with McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones. Rashied Ali joined the group, and Elvin Jones was quick to depart. That made Rashied the go-to guy for Trane, and they really created some amazing music together. I wore out the Coltrane/Ali duet recording, Interstellar Space when I was in college. I simply could not fathom how two people created so much sound.
Fast forward to June 24, 2004. I was the producer for a live broadcast from Sounds of the City, an outdoor concert series presented by the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. The first of three acts we recorded that day was a duet with saxophonist Sonny Fortune and drummer Rashied Ali. Meeting them both for the first time was one thing, but it's the concert that I'll never forget. It's one song - Coltrane's "Impressions," and it lasts for 55 minutes. We broadcast it live on WBGO. Click the button above to hear it. It was 5pm, right at the beginning of our drivetime. I think that if I had a car that day, I would have driven around the city until the song was over, because both of these gentlemen were so heavily invested in the music. That's something I hope anyone can appreciate - a life dedicated to music. I'll miss you, Rashied.
© 2009 WBGO
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