Rashied Ali (1935 – 2009), multi-directional drummer, speaks

rashiedAliHere is a cool transcript from a 1990 interview with drummer Rashied Ali that was conducted by Howard Mandel for the documentary The World According to John Coltrane. As you’d imagine, they mostly cover Coltrane, but there is a lot to read here about a number of different topics. From the interview, Ali speaks about playing on the same bandstand with Elvin Jones:

HM: Why did Coltrane want another drummer? What did he hear?

RA: Because he was in a drummer thing. He just wanted to free himself from playing these strict changes. The bass player and the piano player would lay these chords down, you know, and he played just about everything he could play on these chords. He played ‘em upside down. He’d turn ‘em around. He played ‘em sideways. He did just about everything he could to ‘em. And playing with the drums he didn’t have to deal with chord changes and keys and stuff like that. So he was free to play however he wanted to play. There were times I played with Trane, he had a battery of drummers, like about three conga players, guys playing batas, shakers and barrels and everything. On one of his records he did that. At the Village Vanguard, live, we had a whole bunch of drummers plus the traps. And then sometimes he would have double traps. Like in Chicago, I played double traps with a young drummer  coming up there, named Jack DeJohnette.

Click here to read Rashied Ali (1935 – 2009), multi-directional drummer, speaks

—Peter Blasevick