By New Times
By Derek Askey
By Mark Deming
By Serene Dominic
By Jason Keil
By Robrt L. Pela and Amy Silverman
By Jeff Moses
By Serene Dominic
New Times: Can we expect any new albums in the near future?
Ravi Coltrane: I'm working on a quartet record. There will be tracks with other musicians, such as Charlie Haden and a very talented harpist named Brandee Younger. The record was supposed to be out already, but it was not an easy year for me. My mother passed away [on January 12, 2007].
NT: Yeah, man. I was sorry to hear about her passing. How are you doing these days?
Coltrane: It's still very surreal and unbelievably tough. Last year, I was still walking, talking, breathing, being a father, and playing gigs, but I couldn't create anything. I couldn't produce anything. I didn't complete anything. When you start feeling directionless, it's hard to create and to really get anything done. It's only now that I am trying to make an attempt at creating.
NT: Do you have a favorite memory of your mother?
Coltrane: It's hard to say. Since I only had one parent growing up [John Coltrane died in 1967 when Ravi was approaching age 2], she was like the sun, and you're in this orbit from the minute you can walk. My most recent memory is the Translinear Light recording I did with her [in 2004]. My mother really didn't want to make a record. Her primary focus later in life was her spiritual practice. The professional part of music didn't exist for her after 1980. I would say, "C'mon, Mom. Let's go into the studio and make a record." I begged for a long time. Once she agreed, I felt very confident with the direction of the record. I'm never that confident about anything [laughs]. But with this particular thing, I knew what was supposed to happen. I could hear the record before it was even made.
NT: Did you ever want to be something other than a jazz musician?
Coltrane: I wanted to play clarinet in an orchestra because I liked classical music as a kid. I thought it might lead into other stuff, like conducting. But then I started to get pulled away to this jazz thing when I was around 19 to 21 years old.
NT: As the Coltrane family archivist, can we expect any new releases from your mom or dad's catalog?
Coltrane: There's a John Coltrane 1966 concert at Temple University that was recorded for the radio. It has Rashied Ali, Pharoah Sanders, Jimmy Garrison, my mother, percussionists, and an alto player. [The late] Michael Brecker was at that concert when he was a teenager and it was the only time he saw my father play. I normally don't make copies of these types of recordings for friends, but I had to make Michael a copy since he was there and his whole life was dedicated to John's music. He had a very sincere passion for John Coltrane.