Last month marked the 65th anniversary of John Coltrane’s birth; in the next ten nights you can hear both surviving members of the galvanic Coltrane Quartet leading their own groups at the Jazz Showcase. In the early 60s, pianist Tyner and drummer Jones fashioned the pulsing, polyrhythmic frame for Coltrane’s reeling, at times fulminating improvisations; more than 25 years later, both men have retained and refined the qualities that supplied that cataclysmic power. These days Tyner leads a trio, which allows him the intimacy to balance and color his essentially percussive (and highly influential) style: the chords can still crash, but the melodies above them have attained a prismatic lyricism. Jones, on the other hand, continues to anchor an often more extroverted quintet built on his uniquely subtle ballet of layered rhythm. The group–which provided a gripping set at the 1991 Chicago Jazz Fest–includes Chicago pianist Willie Pickens and no less than two saxophonists: the sterling but oft overlooked Sonny Fortune, who once fronted Tyner’s quartet, and young Ravi Coltrane, who can attain much of his father’s resonant tone (especially on tenor) and has an attractive, if not yet fully cohesive, solo style. Tyner’s trio plays tonight through Sunday, Jones’s quintet Tuesday through next Sunday, November 10, Joe Segal’s Jazz Showcase, Blackstone Hotel, 636 S. Michigan; 427-4300.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Carol Friedman.