Ravi Coltrane is now 47 years old. Over the past 15 years the saxophonist and composer has released six critically acclaimed albums as a leader and made innumerable recordings as a sideman, including his work with the collective supergroup Saxophone Summit. But still, for many jazz fans, the question remains: Why would a son of John Coltrane — one of the towering figures in jazz and, it could be argued, 20th-century music in general — choose to play his father’s instrument? Isn’t that just too much baggage to carry?
When I get Coltrane the younger on the telephone in Belgium, where he’s on a tour that will take him to Scullers on June 20, he laughs at my view from “the other side of the telescope.” He says. “I was never that conscious of a choice either way. I always loved saxophone players. It was just something that I wanted to do, that was fun to do.”