R.I.P. Rashied Ali

Rashied Ali, whose expressionistic, free-jazz drumming helped define the experimental style of John Coltrane’s final years, died Wednesday in Manhattan. He was 76.
In the mid-1960s, he joined Elvin Jones as a second drummer with Coltrane’s ensemble at the Village Gate in November 1965 He recorded with Coltrane and Jones on the 1965 album “Meditations” and, after replacing Jones as Coltrane’s drummer, on the duet album “Interstellar Space” (1967), one of the purest expressions of the free-jazz movement. On his own Web site, his playing is described as “a multi-rhythmic, polytonal propellant, helping fuel Coltrane’s flights of free-jazz fancy.” Born Robert Patterson into a musical family in Philadelphia. He started out on piano and dabbled with trombone and trumpet before finding his way to the drums, which he began to play seriously while serving in the Army. On returning to Philadelphia, he played in local rhythm and blues and rock and roll groups before moving on to jazz and moving to New York in 1963, where he played with progressive jazz musicians like Don Cherry, Pharaoh Sanders, Archie Shepp and Albert Ayler. After Coltrane’s death in 1967, he toured Europe and, returning to New York, opened Ali’s Alley, a club intended as a showcase for free-jazz musicians. It operated until 1979. From the 1980s until his death, Mr. Ali performed and recorded with several avant-garde groups, including Phalanx and Prima Materia, an ensemble devoted to interpreting the music of Coltrane and Ayler. Most recently he performed with the Rashied Ali Quintet, which he formed in 2003.

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May he rest peacefully.

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Setlist Architect/Art Scene Checker-Outer/Sound Feeler
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