Rashied Ali
August 13, 2009 7:37 AM   Subscribe

Jazz pioneer Rashied Ali Has died. He leaves behind him a lifetime of collaborations in out jazz, with artists like Ayler, Coltrane, Cherry, Haino, Laswell, Bley, Sanders, and Ulmer.

He was born Robert Patterson, on 1 July 1935. Ali's hyperactive and textural style was a revolution in free jazz, and one of Coltrane's biggest breaks with jazz tradition was making Ali his drummer.

Rashied Ali continued to experiment and explore later in his life, collaborating with a new generation of Jazz innovators, people like Bill Laswell, Keiji Haino, William Parker and Charles Gayle.
posted by idiopath (21 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
posted by HumanComplex at 7:40 AM on August 13, 2009

Sadly, I couldn't find an article in english about his death, if anyone knows enough French to give us a rough translation of that death announcement, I would appreciate it.
posted by idiopath at 7:41 AM on August 13, 2009

A link I should not have missed: his personal website.
posted by idiopath at 7:49 AM on August 13, 2009


posted by languagehat at 8:05 AM on August 13, 2009

“Jazz Drummer Rashied Ali Is Dead

"We have learned of the demise of drummer Rashied Ali yesterdat, August 12, 2009.

"Born in Philadelphia in 1935, he began his career with the Army Band and local rhythm and blues groups. During the 60s, he had a passion for avant garde jazz (Don Cherry, Pharoah Sanders, Paul Bley, Archie Shepp, Bill Dixon and Albert Ayler). He met John Coltrane and worked with him as a second drummer, along with Elvin Jones. After the death of his mentor, he toured with groups including Jackie McLean, Alice Coltrane, Archie Shepp, Gary Bartz and Dewey Redman. During the 70s, he stayed in New York, played less and opened a jazz club called Ali’s Alley. He continued to play sporadically until 1992, when he formed a group with saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, Matt Garrison, Greg Murphy and Gene Ess. They recorded the album No One In Particular.

"He formed groups in tribute to the music of Coltrane and Ayler, and put together the Rashied Ali Quartet with whom he played and recorded (at his private studio and on the label Survival Records) until his death.

"He will be best remembered as the drummer for John Coltrane’s late period."

Not sure why I bothered translating that. I probably could have just written it.

posted by el_lupino at 8:17 AM on August 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

posted by Minus215Cee at 8:20 AM on August 13, 2009


Interstellar Space.

Give it a listen.
posted by gcbv at 8:29 AM on August 13, 2009

His album with Parker and Gayle, Touchin' on Trane, is a reasonable answer to one of those questions, "If you had to pick only one free-jazz album to own...?" It is rightfully regarded as a classic. Charles Gayle is a story in his own right (from homeless saxophonist to revered giant in a few short years), as is bassist William Parker. Putting the three together was bound to work, and it did.

Ali also recorded a lesser-known, but excellent album with Assif Tsahar and Peter Kowald titled Deals, Ideas and Ideals.
posted by cribcage at 9:34 AM on August 13, 2009

posted by nicolin at 9:49 AM on August 13, 2009

Touchin' on Trane is indeed really great.

posted by box at 9:50 AM on August 13, 2009

posted by ardgedee at 10:08 AM on August 13, 2009


posted by Saxon Kane at 11:26 AM on August 13, 2009

posted by Mental Wimp at 12:26 PM on August 13, 2009

posted by barrett caulk at 1:48 PM on August 13, 2009

Another recommendation for Touchin' on Trane: I confess I'm not crazy about some of the really screechy out-there stuff on other records, but that's a great, great album.
posted by languagehat at 2:02 PM on August 13, 2009

posted by motty at 3:29 PM on August 13, 2009

posted by Wolof at 5:02 PM on August 13, 2009

I loved him for his work on Coltrane's albums, and after all that "outside" drumming, I was surprised to see him - about 25 years ago - working a "Dick Gibson" concert.

Dick Gibson was an old school jazz fan who would bring people like Dick Hyman and Johnny Griffin together for jazz sessions/concerts in Denver.

Ali was a surprise and a delight. He brought the old and new together, smiling and tapping and banging...music is a wonderful thing.
posted by kozad at 8:17 PM on August 13, 2009

Oh, and Songlines, with Fred Hopkins and Peter Brotzmann (here's Ali w/Brotzmann in a different session), is goddamn amazing.
posted by box at 8:31 PM on August 13, 2009 [2 favorites]

box: that session with Brotzman is fucking mindblowing amazing, Parker, Gayle, Ware, and Ali all at once (and the rest hold their own too), damn.
posted by idiopath at 6:24 AM on August 14, 2009

posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:03 AM on August 15, 2009

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