NY Times, Sunday February 20, 2005

One of the things to admire about the saxophonist Ravi Coltrane is the slow, methodical way he built his career. His first album, "Moving Pictures," from 1998, was a tentative beginning, almost a record of sketches; he wasn't fully rounded yet, and given the opportunity to record (as any saxophone-playing son of John Coltrane would be), he didn't fake secondhand flash. A few so-so albums went by after that, and now at the age of 39, on the new "In Flux" (Savoy Jazz), he's come into his own. The album enlists different approaches: mysterious and moving ballads ("Away," "For Zoe"); free improvisation within tight rhythmic structures ("Leaving Avignon" and "Scram Vamp"); a rubato ballad ("Dear Alice"); the rhythmic complexities of the new Latin jazz, negotiated with the pianist Luis Perdomo, the bassist Drew Gress and drummer E.J.
Strickland; layered time signatures; a few short free-jazz scrimmages. Mr. Coltrane avoids tired song structures and doesn't want to bore you. He's fascinated on one hand by miniatures and on the other by the idea of longer songs that sound like collective improvisation from start to finish. It's a record you can point to and say: This is what jazz sounds like now in New York.