When Billie sang “God bless the child that’s got his own” to the woman in the mirror, she had no idea that an aspiring saxophonist named Ravi Coltrane would hear her advice and take it to heart. As the son of John and Alice Coltrane-two of the deepest musicians of the 20th century-all you amateur therapists would surmise that Ravi was/is your typical underachieving progeny-of-legendary-musician-model case. WRONG! Sorry experts, but Ravi Coltrane is a warp-free, jovial, young rising tenor saxophonist/composer well on the way to makin’ wreck in this jazz life.
Only two years old when his father passed away on July 17, 1967, Ravi never really knew him. Even without Trane’s presence, he and his siblings (John Jr., Miki, Oman) grew up in a house of love and open-ended artistic discourse…all praises due to Mom Alice. And the music they heard-Trane, Stravinsky, Alice’s recording sessions with Pharoah, Rashid Ali (to name a few) in the home studio (Monastic Trio, Journey Into Sachadinanda, Ptah The El Daoud), James Brown, the Jackson 5-you’d think that the Coltrane kids were stage-mothered into jazz. “Absolutely not, it was never presented as something like a chore that we would eventually have to take up, had to learn, had to be a part of, it was always there for us,” says Ravi. “If it was something we wanted to be a part of, our mother was always there, (but) it was really up to us.”