Ethan Iverson Trio MONK@100
& Ravi Coltrane
Thursday, October 26, 2017 | 7:00 pm
Thursday, October 26, 2017 | 9:00 pm
Saxophonist Ravi Coltrane was born into jazz royalty, the son of musicians John (who died before Ravi was two) and Alice. But his surname has served less as a free pass and more as an impetus to sharpen and stretch his athletic approach to the same instrument his father revolutionized. He has also, much like his mother, explored outsider styles and influences. Since initially shying away from a career in music, Coltrane has become an emissary for jazz, not only through his own writing and recording but also through high-profile collaborations, including one that commemorated the seventieth anniversary of the label he and his father shared, Blue Note Records.
Though Ethan Iverson is best known for his groundbreaking crossover work with the Bad Plus, that trio’s remarkable catalogue only marks the second phase of a sterling quarter-century career. Iverson emerged as a major new player in the early 1990s, when he became an essential piece of a rising underground New York jazz scene. Around the same time he became the music director of the Mark Morris Dance Group, foreshadowing the ambitious routine he has maintained to this day. Iverson is a tireless bandleader, composer, arranger, and collaborator, and one of the best-respected jazz critics in the world. When asked in interviews who his greatest influence was, Iverson always says, “Thelonious Monk.”
In Durham, Iverson leads what he calls “a classic swinging New York rhythm section” custom-made for MONK@100 and the sequence of esteemed saxophonists the group will welcome over four days. Drummer Victor Lewis was a key element of the top-shelf Woody Shaw group for many years, and bassist David Williams was the lynchpin for an awe-inspiring trio with Cedar Walton and Billy Higgins for three decades. (Shaw and Walton programmed Monk frequently in their sets, and Walton once subbed for Monk at the Five Spot.) This trio is perfectly suited for the tremendous task of revivifying Monk’s music. Between the two of them, Lewis and Williams have worked with almost every significant modern jazz player, from Dexter Gordon and Freddie Hubbard to Elvin Jones and Kenny Barron, not to mention such brilliant musicians as Carla Bley, Anthony Braxton, and Roberta Flack.MONK@100 is made possible, in part, with support from the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation & the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources. MONK@100 is an official event of the N.C. Arts Council’s 50th Anniversary Celebration.
“Ravi Coltrane is clearly of his own progressive bent regarding tone, concept, and direction.”