Saturday, August 15, 2009

Drummerobit: Rashied Ali

A heart attack has claimed the life of Rashied Ali.

Ali - "the free drummer's free drummer" - is best known for his work with John Coltrane during the 1960s. He'd been a casual multiinstrumentalist during his childhood, but had started to concentrate on drums while in the army. Making his way through R&B and rock acts, it was with jazz that he really found his niche. Eventually, he would replace Elvin Jones as Coltrane's lead drummer, playing on 1967's Interstellar Space. It was to be Coltrane's last work.

Ali continued to play, alongside running Ali's, a club designed to showcase the best in free-drumming which enjoyed a run of success in the decade up to 1979. He worked with a number of different acts of varying distances avant of the garde, finally conceding to a titular act of vanity in 2003 when he formed the Rashied Ali Quintet.

Ali died on Wednesday in Manhattan. He was 76.