In The Flesh

It was transcendent, which is fitting, given her life-long spiritual concerns. Roy Haynes in his 80s had the energy of a twentysomething, the muscles of an Elvin Jones in his prime and the lightning precision of a Tony Williams. Bassist Charlie Haden spread out a huge bottom sound, and spun out one masterfully lyrical solo after another. At one point, after a ballad duet with Alice, he bowed to her in total affection, and it brought tears to my eyes. Ravi Coltrane managed to be brilliantly himself, even though everyone keeps clamoring for him to be his father. (When he picked up the soprano for a Coltrane tune, it did sound uncannily like John.) The shock of Alice’s recent passing was tripled after seeing her so recently be so on top of her music, playing piano, organ and synthesizer wonderfully, and speaking eloquently about John’s legacy. At intermission, there was a slide show, complete with soundtrack, on the life and art of John Coltrane. No one had a problem with such open veneration. And now it seems to have served a double purpose: as a loving recollection and a fond farewell. Send comments to [email protected]

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