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Rings of Saturn

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Album Review

Rashied Ali was 62 when, in August 1997, he recorded Rings of Saturn, a collection of duets with tenor saxophonist Louie Belogenis. But the drummer was showing no signs of mellowing with age — he was still committed to avant-garde jazz and outside improvisation, and he still had an uncompromising take-it-or-leave-it mindset. Because of its tenor/drums format, Rings of Saturn is bound to be compared to Interstellar Space, Ali's 1967 duet with John Coltrane. Belogenis, in fact, has been greatly influenced by late-period Trane as well as the innovations of Albert Ayler. But he's also his own man, and the saxman makes that clear on original material as well as fiery, intensely emotional performances of the Trane pieces "Saturn" (which was heard on Interstellar Space) and "Seraphic Light." Rings of Saturn falls short of essential, but it's a heartfelt, satisfying date that admirers of free jazz will enjoy.

Biography

Born: 01 July 1935 in Philadelphia, PA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

The task of following Elvin Jones as drummer with John Coltrane must have been one of the most daunting situations ever entered into by a jazz musician. In the mid-'60s, most jazz listeners would have assumed that Jones was the only drummer alive who possessed the requisite imagination, intensity, and powerful sense of swing necessary to drive Coltrane's passions. As it turned out, even Jones had limitations, and since Coltrane was all about transcending limitations, it seems proper that he would...
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