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Rashied Ali

Rashied Ali
Rashied Ali (photo: Enid Farber)

A pioneer of free jazz drumming in the ’60s, Rashied Ali is laying down his multi-directional pulse with renewed vigor at the age of 64. You can hear his enthusiasm cut through on Rings of Saturn (Knitting Factory Works), Ali’s captivating duet project with tenor saxophonist Louie Belogenis. Together they rekindle the kinetic energy and conversational flow of Rashied’s searing duets with John Coltrane from 1967’s Interstellar Space. Indeed, the title track of the new album refers to “Saturn,” a piece from that very same landmark recording which they also reprise here. And Ali brings that same kind of focused intensity to bear on the kit this time around.

“My approach to the drums is the same,” says the progenitor of polytonal percussion. “I don’t care what I’m playing or who I’m playing with, I always approached the music the way I play and I just make it work for whatever I’m doing. Because I can only come at the kit the way I come at it, in a melodic way. I have to complement who I’m playing with but I don’t sacrifice my style of drumming for it. So it’s against the grain but at the same time it just works with everything.”

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