When: Saturday, June 1, 7 p.m.
Where: Raven Theater, 115 North St., Healdsburg
When ECM Records issued its first album in 1969, Ravi Coltrane was 4 years old and Matt Garrison wasn’t born yet. Jack DeJohnette, on the other hand, was the ripe old age of 27 and getting ready to embark on a long string of albums on ECM – 18 as a leader or co-leader and 40 as a sideman.
In 2015 the three musicians came together for ECM on an album called In Movement that demonstrates not only how talented the players are but also what’s special about this enduring label. Tenor man Ravi is of course the son of John and Alice Coltrane, and bassist Matt is the son of Jimmy Garrison, who was the bassist in John Coltrane’s classic quartet. And while drummer DeJohnette never cut a record with Trane, he did sit in with him in the early ‘60s. Considering the Coltrane connection, the trio could easily have gone for a straight-up collection of covers, which probably would have been fabulous, considering the talent on exhibit.
But this is an ECM album, with the label’s founder Manfred Eicher producing, and that meant normalcy was not on the agenda. Instead, we get only a single Trane tune, the gorgeous “Alabama.” The version here grieves like the original, but is freer and more open, befitting the passage of time. The other covers on the disk – Miles Davis’ “Blue in Green” and Earth Wind & Fire’s “Serpentine Fire” – are far less faithful to the originals but still beautiful creations, as if refracted lightly through crystals.
Ravi’s playing has come such a long way in the past 20 years – every note is deeply considered. Matt displays all kinds of compelling ways of filling the pocket, and Jack, well, is just Jack, one of the greatest of all time, a Zen master of the drums whose style embraces the fullness of jazz history. If that wasn’t enough, he plays some pretty decent piano on the record as well. Thanks to Manfred, the sonic qualities, that ethereal clarity, are a match for the material, and that’s ECM in a nutshell.
Unfortunately the winner of 2019 Student Jazz Combo Competition, Windsor High School’s The Jazz Corner, will not be able to perform at this evening’s concert as previously announced.