Ali, Rashied (originally Patterson, Robert)

views updated

Ali, Rashied (originally Patterson, Robert)

Ali, Rashied (originally Patterson, Robert), jazz drummer; b. Philadelphia, July 1, 1935. Ali is best known for his freestyle work with John Coltrane. He came from a musical family; his mother sang with Jimmie Lunceford (perhaps as part of a vocal group). Ali did some studying at the Granoff School, played in the army, and on return started gigging with rhythm and blues and rock groups, such as Dick Hart and The Heartaches, Big Maybelle, and Lin Holt, and saxophonist Len Bailey. He first did jazz gigs with his own group, but he also worked with Jimmy Oliver, Tommy Coles, Orrin Marshall, Lee Morgan, Don Patterson, and Jimmy Smith. Ali drove a cab for two years in the early 1960s and moved to N.Y. in 1963. There he met Pharaoh Sanders, and immediately started working with Sanders and Don Cherry. Ali also worked with Archie Shepp, Earl Hines, Marion Brown, Sun Ra, and Albert Ayler. After sitting in with Coltrane a few times at the Half Note, Ali was hired in November 1965 to form a two-drum team alongside El vin Jones. After Jones left for good in late March 1966, Ali stayed on. He worked with Alice Coltrane after her husband John’s death in 1967, and played gigs in Copenhagen, Germany, and Sweden with Sonny Rollins (c. 1968) and others, before studying with Philly Joe Jones in England. Returning to N.Y., Ali worked with Jackie McLean, Alice Coltrane, Shepp, Gary Bartz, Dewey Redman, and others; ran a jazz loft, Ali’s Alley/Studio 77 (1973–79); and formed Survival Records (1972). In the 1990s, his band Prima Materia began revisiting Coltrane’s late works. Inter- views with Ali appear in the video The World According to John Coltrane and the book John Coltrane: His Life and Music (Ann Arbor, 1998).


Meditations (1965); Concert In Japan (1966); Expression (1967); J. Coltrane, Interstellar Space (1967); A. Coltrane, A Monastic Trio Exchange (1973); R. A. Quintet (1973); Peace on Earth (1994); Prima Materia: Meditations (1995).

—Lewis Porter