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Catalog ID: aylCD-050/51
Squidco Product Code: 9787
Format: 2 CDs
Packaging: Digipack Double CD
Recorded live at Willisau, Switzerland, August 29, 1981.
Rashied Ali-drums, voice
Arthur Rhames-tenor sax, piano
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• Show Bio for Rashied Ali
"Rashied Ali, born Robert Patterson (July 1, 1933) was a progenitor and leading exponent of multidirectional rhythms and polytonal percussion. A student of Philly Joe Jones and an admirer of Art Blakey, Ali developed the style known as "free jazz" drumming, which liberates the percussionist from the role of human metronome. The drummer interfaces both rhythmically and melodically with the music, utilizing meter and sound in a unique fashion. This allows the percussionist to participate in the music in a harmonic sense, coloring both the rhythm and tonality with his personal perception. By adding his voice to the ensemble, the percussionist becomes an equal in the melodics of collective musical creation rather than a "pot banger" who keeps the others all playing at the same speed. Considered radical in the 1960s and scorned by the mediocre, multidirectional rhythms and polytonal drumming are now the landmark of the jazz percussionist.
A Philadelphia native, Rashied Ali began his percussion career in the U.S. Army and started gigging with rhythm and blues and rock groups when he returned from the service. Cutting his musical teeth with local Philly R&B groups, such as Dick Hart & the Heartaches, Big Maybelle and Lin Holt, Rashied gradually moved on to play in the local jazz scene with such notables as Lee Morgan, Don Patterson and Jimmy Smith.
Early in the 1960s the Big Apple beckoned, and soon Rashied Ali was a fixture of the avant-garde jazz scene, backing up the excursions of such musical free spirits as Don Cherry, Pharoah Sanders, Paul Bley, Archie Shepp, Bill Dixon and Albert Ayler. It was during this period that Rashied Ali made his first major recording ("On This Night" with Archie Shepp, on the Impulse! label) and began to sit in with John Coltrane's group at the Half Note and other clubs around Manhattan.
In November 1965 John Coltrane decided to use a two-drummer format for a gig at the Village Gate; the percussionist Trane chose to complement the already legendary Elvin Jones was Rashied Ali. Thus began a musical odyssey whose reverberations are still felt in the music today--Trane probing the outer harmonic limits and changing the melodic language of jazz while Rashied Ali turned the drum kit into a multi-rhythmic, polytonal propellant, helping fuel Coltrane's flights of free jazz fancy. The rolling, emotion-piercing music generated by the Coltrane/Ali association is still being discussed, analyzed, reviewed and enjoyed as the internet and new audio technology introduces their era to a new host of the sonically aware.
After Coltrane's passing in 1967, Rashied Ali headed for Europe, where he gigged in Copenhagen, Germany and Sweden before settling in for a study period with Philly Joe Jones in England. Upon his return from the continent, Rashied Ali resumed his place at the forefront of New York's music scene, working and recording with the likes of Jackie McLean, Alice Coltrane, Archie Shepp, Gary Bartz, Dewey Redman and others too numerous to mention here.
In response to the decaying New York jazz scene in the early 1970s, Rashied Ali opened the loft-jazz club, Ali's Alley, in 1973 and also established a companion enterprise, Survival Records. Ali's Alley began as a musical outlet for New York avant-garde but soon became a melting pot of jazz styles. Although the Alley closed in 1979, its legacy continues in the New York jazz scene. During that time, Rashied recorded and released several albums on the Survival Records label and was busy gigging with a virtual Who's Who in jazz, refining his music and encouraging up-and-coming younger musicians.
In the '80s and '90s, his presence on the scene was sporadic; he performed on occasion with bassist Jaco Pastorius, and recorded with tenor saxophonist David Murray. In 1987 he recorded and performed as a member of the group Phalanx, with guitarist James "Blood" Ulmer, tenor saxophonist George Adams, and bassist Sirone. Also in that year Rashied formed a group with multi-instrumentalist Arthur Rhames, saxophonist Antoine Roney, bassist Tyler Mitchell, and pianist Greg Murphy. In 1991, he made the critically acclaimed album "Touchin' on Trane" with bassist William Parker and tenor saxophonist Charles Gayle, a group called By Any Means that was formed in the '80s and continued to perform until 2009. In the early '90s he formed a quintet with Ravi Coltrane, Matt Garrison, Greg Murphy and guitarist Gene Ess, later releasing his 1992 recording "No One in Particular" in 2001 on Survival Records. One tour of France with this group featured Carlos Santana and Archie Shepp. The '90s also found Ali at the helm of the band, Prima Materia, an ensemble dedicated to interpreting the late works of Coltrane and Albert Ayler. This group toured extensively and in 1994, 1995, and 1996, they recorded "Peace on Earth," "Meditations," and "Bells" for the Knitting Factory Works label. He also appeared on more than half a dozen discs with guitarist Tisziji Muñoz--the majority of which were recorded in Rashied's own Survival Studios.
In 2003 Rashied formed another version of The Rashied Ali Quintet. In 2005 they released two CDs--"Judgment Day Vol. 1" and "Judgment Day Vol. 2," both of which received significant national airplay and volumes of critical acclaim. In 2009 "Live In Europe" by the Rashied Ali Quintet was released, also on the Survival Records label. This group, which Jazz Times critic Bill Milkowski called "...one of the more potent working quintets in jazz today," developed a style that combined modern post-bop with Ali's trademark free jazz. This group toured frequently, with their final performances taking place at The Art of Jazz festival in Toronto in June and at the Zinc Bar in NYC in July of 2009.
Rashied died August 12, 2009 in a Manhattan hospital after suffering a pulmonary embolism. He was 76. Besides his wife, Patricia, he is survived by two brothers, the jazz drummer Muhammad Ali and Umar Ali, both of Philadelphia, and nine children."-Rashied Ali Website (https://www.rashiedali.org/bio.html)
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1. Introduction by Rashied Ali
2. Mr. PC mp3 real audio
3. I Want To Talk about You
4. Giant Steps / Impressions / Tune Up
5. Extra, Extra - Read All About It (1)
6. Giant Steps / Lazy Bird / Moments Notice
7. Extra, Extra - Read All About It (2)
11. Homage Charlie Parker - medley
12. The Work Of The Master
descriptions, reviews, &c.
For some, Interstellar Space was the end of John Coltrane-and for others, just the beginning. As many people dislike Rashied Ali for being Trane's last drummer as like him for that same reason. Indisputable though is that Interstellar Space began the examination of new possibilities for the duet format, apart from the typical piano/bass example. Ali continued to explore this arrangement after the death of his mentor on albums like Duo Exchange with late saxophonist Frank Lowe and in his current duo with altoist Sonny Fortune (in residency at Sweet Rhythm this month). Ayler Records, continuing a spate of exciting archival live albums, has released another chapter in Ali's saxophone duet history, this time as a double disc set with, sadly, another late player, tenor Arthur Rhames.
The performance was recorded in 1981 at the Willisau Jazz Festival. Given Rhames' relative obscurity, the first disc begins with Rashied Ali narrating liner notes over a 17-minute exposition by himself and Rhames. The rest of the set consists of material by Coltrane including "Mr. PC," "Giant Steps," "Impressions" and even a brief reading of most of A Love Supreme (all interesting choices as they all predate Ali joining Coltrane's group). The Eckstine standard "I Want to Talk About You," Miles' "Tune Up" and four pieces ostensibly improvised by Rhames and Ali are thrown in for good measure.
Unlike Interstellar Space , where Ali's desperate attempts to hang on are part of the charm, The Dynamic Duo presents an Ali almost fifteen years older and playing with a saxophonist near his age when he was recording with Coltrane. Ali may have matured, but never at the expense of the muscular aggressive style that makes him a perfect foil for horn players. Despite being viewed as a "free" drummer, players like Trane, Lowe, Rhames or Fortune can rely on him to follow the flow of their ideas as carefully as they do and surprise with his empathetic support.
The sound reproduction is quite good, helped by the two very distinct ranges of the instruments involved (Rhames does also contribute some piano to the set). What makes this music particularly appealing is the presentation of mostly actual tunes, a rare opportunity to focus on the melody and rhythm of jazz without the softening effect of harmony and counterpoint. Rhames can just blow (and does, furiously, from the 23-minute "Mr. PC" to the end) and Ali can react solely to him, creating a more visceral and monolithic sound.
The medley style of the set makes one marvel not only at Rhames' remarkable facility and tone, even at high speeds, but at both musicians' stamina. Even the slower numbers do not lack for vitality, the duo format leaving no room to hide behind lush chords. Rhames may no longer be with us, but rest assured that Ali has not come close to finishing what he started."-Andrey Henkin, All About Jazz
Get additional information at All About Jazz
Saxophone & Drummer / Percussionist Duos
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