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Joe Lovano transcends Coltrane's "spiritual side"

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Monday May 16, 2016

From The New York Times
By Nate Chinen

Review: In the Sanctuary of ‘The Spiritual Side of Coltrane’

Because a famous subset of John Coltrane’s music addressed religion, it’s reasonable to regard spirituality as a discrete area of interest for him: a room he chose to enter, apart from the rest of the house. “The Spiritual Side of Coltrane,” at the Appel Room on Friday and Saturday, hinted as much in its title. But its musical director, Joe Lovano, pushed firmly against that premise, making a case for something larger and less sequestered.

Mr. Lovano, one of Coltrane’s many inheritors on tenor and soprano saxophone, had put together a dream team for the occasion, including Ravi Coltrane — John’s son, a serious saxophonist, bandleader and composer in his own right. The concert, which ran twice nightly, was part of the Miles & ’Trane Festival, a shared 90th-birthday tribute to Coltrane and Miles Davis, presented by Jazz at Lincoln Center throughout Frederick P. Rose Hall.

Friday’s first performance opened and closed in shimmering solemnity, first with “Welcome” and later with “Song of Praise.” In each instance Mr. Lovano and Mr. Coltrane phrased the deliberative melodic themes in unison and then improvised in a bristly but uncontentious tandem. Their softly rumbling backdrop was the product of two drummers, Andrew Cyrille and Brian Blade, as well as the bassist Reggie Workman and the pianist