sabato 4 febbraio 2012

Intervista a Ravi Coltrane

C'è grande attesa ed aspettativa intorno al nuovo album di Ravi Coltrane, in quanto si tratta del suo debutto con la Blue Note, e non si tratta solo del confronto che inevitabilmente si farà con il seminale album Blue Train che il padre pubblicò per l'etichetta nel 1957, ma anche del fatto che la celebre etichetta è diventata molto selettiva riguardo agli album strumentali.
Infatti lo scorso anno la Blue Note ne ha pubblicati solo un paio The Heart Emerges Glistening di Ambrose Akinmusire, e Bird Songs di Joe Lovano/Us Five, ed entrambi hanno ottenuto un clamoroso successo di critica e pubblico.
Ma Coltrane non sembra farci caso: “Well, there’s always a pressure when you’re shooting for the unknown,” dice Coltrane “In this type of music, risks are important for us to grow. Doing that within the environment of a legendary and historic jazz label like Blue Note, it definitely presented some challenges for me, without a doubt. But you’re always going to have something in the back of your mind, and it’s either going to help you get to where you’re going, or kind of keep you treading water. I think I did a little of both on this album.”
Ravi Coltrane è un artista con grandi ambizioni, il suo obiettivo è quello di suonare bene e di creare una musica originale e personale pur nel rispetto della tradizione del jazz: “Being an improviser, it’s a conundrum today,” dice. “You learn all this stuff that has been categorized as jazz music, and unless you learn that we can’t really say you’re playing jazz. There are people who are considered great musicians who only have the strongest ability to just emulate. They learn quickly, they have enough physical ability to get all this stuff to come out of their instruments, and they can do it in a real-time fashion that feels fluid and new, so it doesn’t sound like a guy who’s mechanically approaching jazz music.”
Da questo punto di vista, Coltrane si considera molto fortunato per aver potuto suonare con eccellenti musicisti, in grado di essere dei grandi sperimentatori, pur nel rispetto della tradizione, ad esempio Ralph Alessi con cui spesso ha suonato in passato e che farà parte della formazione del prossimo tour: "I’ve known Ralph and have been playing with him since 1986. We both were at Cal Arts together, and he was always extremely capable, and extremely aware of the music. You know, some people try to play a certain type of tune, and they try to emulate another guy’s sound; Ralph could always sound like himself, no matter what style he was playing or who he was playing with. That blows me away.”
Oppure Joe Lovano, produttore dell'album con la Blue Note che, insieme a Dave Liebman è suo collega nel magnifico Saxophone Summit: “That’s such a great group of guys just to be with,” dice, “and it encourages you to really try not to copy, not to emulate. Primarily, that group functions around the later music of John Coltrane, and that music is so original, it is so involved – much more involved than the exterior of that music often presents itself to the listener. It lends itself to people who get up and find their own ways with the material."
John Coltrane was not an emulator” aggiunge "He’s not considered great because he could play like all his heroes. That’s not why we speak about him today.”  
Coltrane interviene anche nella polemica innescata da Nicholas Payton a proposito del termine jazz: “My father wasn’t a fan of the word jazz either. When most people think about jazz as a genre they think of something that exists in the past, old music that has to be played the same way for it to stay jazz. But I have never approached it that way. I always thought about it as something that exists in the present and future. People still have to express themselves as improvisers.”
The terminology can often box people in. It can create an image for what an artist does that he may not agree with,” dice ancora Coltrane. “If it’s an issue of semantics I don’t get bogged down in that.”
Ma invece di pensare al genere, Coltrane preferisce concentrarsi su ciò che egli vuole comunicare al pubblico: “I’m a big fan of the dialogue, I like music being a tool of communication. I feel an important part of what we do is trying to express emotions and ideas.”

Ecco un video del quartetto di Coltrane, che presenta una versione di Lonnie's Lament registrata il 3/9/2011 a High Point, NC:

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