Thursday, August 13, 2009

RIP Rashied Ali

What an absolutely outstanding musician.

And he sounded as good in recent years as he did on all those classic records. I feel fortunate that I was able to catch him live several times (but still, it wasn't enough). I'll never forget when I interviewed him in 2003 at his studio in Soho. He spoke of trying to "turn time into nothing." When I asked him what he meant, he proceeded to sit down at his kit and demonstrate. "Okay, here's time," he said, easing into one of his patented subtly roiling drumscapes. "And now I'm going to turn time into nothing." To be perfectly honest, I perceived no change in what he was playing, but either way it was completely magical to hear him in such an intimate setting. Here, via All About Jazz, is the complete transcript of said interview, which contains a wealth of great info on Interstellar Space and Ali's career as a whole. Check The Volume for a modest obituary and some nice links.

This sad news begs the question: Does anyone know the whereabouts of Rashied's younger brother Muhammad? I absolutely love his vintage work with Frank Wright and several others, but I have heard very little news of his recent activities. Some enticing tidbits here.

UPDATE: A Blog Supreme reports (as do several other sources) that Muhammad actually subbed for Rashied at the Newport Jazz Festival this past weekend. Anyone attend? I'm dying to know how he sounded. Thanks to RVAJazz and Steve Smith for the heads-ups.


RVAjazz said...

Patrick Jarenwattananon over at NPR's A Blog Supreme just reported on seeing Muhammad Ali with the trio By Any Means.

"[Roy Haynes] was pressed directly up against the stage, staring down drummer Muhammad Ali (brother of Rashied Ali, who was originally scheduled to appear)"

RVAjazz said...

Sorry. Link:

Brian Roessler said...

Never seeing Rashied Ali play in person is one of my big regrets. Love his drumming.... Interstellar Space was a real game-changer for me when I put it in my CD player.

Brian Roessler