In case you're out of the loop, here's the deal: over the course of the last seven months, the Mt. Bachelor Riverhouse Jazz Series has been bringing some big names in modern jazz here to Central Oregon. The series wraps up this weekend, with two nights featuring a big name in jazz, Ravi Coltrane—who also happens to be the son of one of the late greats in the genre, John Coltrane. Son Ravi was also a 2017 Grammy nominee for best improvised jazz solo performance, touring now with the Ravi Coltrane Quintet.
Born in Long Island, N.Y. in the mid 1960s into jazz royalty by parents John (saxophone) and Alice (piano) Coltrane, it comes as some surprise that it took Ravi (named after Indian sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar) until he was in his early 20s to begin pursuing music. That eventually led him to his current work in the genre of post bop—a style of jazz that borrows stylistically from hard bop, modal jazz, avant-garde and free jazz, while nevertheless not sounding much like any of them.
When he entered the jazz world, Ravi was a sideman in many projects, recording on more than 30 albums before taking the helm of his own group. Now with 20 years recording as a bandleader and nine studio albums under his belt, Coltrane is focused on composing, recording and touring, playing jazz festivals and other events around the world.
As co-owner of RKM Records, he's also busy in the studio, working the sound board and recording other acts—which keeps him hopping when he's not on the road touring in support of his own sound. Thom Jurek (biographer) says "tenor saxaphonist Ravi Coltrane's sound is huskier, more mercurial, evoking Joe Henderson or Johnny Griffin more than his father." While always sharing some of the limelight with his father, he's always set his sights on following his own art, and allowing it to direct him away stylistically from his parents and their influences on modern jazz.
Midway through a rigorous cross-country tour, Ravi brings his quintet to Bend for two nights of live jazz. Each night begins at 6:30pm with a students' performance, then Portland Innovation Project opens with an exciting set of jazz improvisation, followed by what one can only guess will be an unforgettable night of live music here in Bend.
The series will return for another seven-month run beginning in October, starting with none other than the likes of Kandace Springs. Hailing from Nashville and recording on Blue Note Records, Kandace was originally noticed by Prince in 2012 after releasing her first EP, which has led to a blossoming career.
The jazz series' Marshall Glickman says, "Five years from now this woman will be a superstar, and we are lucky to have her grace the stage in Bend at the cusp of her career."
For a city the size of Bend to be able to bring musicians of this caliber to play is a real treasure in the growth of culture here in Central Oregon—so if you haven't already had the chance to attend the shows at the Riverhouse, don't despair, another amazing season of jazz, or more importantly, American music, is coming your way.
The Ravi Coltrane Quintet
Friday April 14 & Saturday April 15
Student performance at 6:30pm; Headliner at 7:30pm
Riverhouse on the Deschutes
3075 U.S. 97 Business, Bend
tickets at BendTicket.com (going fast!)