Kevin Winter, Getty Images After some confusion, it appears that a Mastodon song…
- Posted on Aug 13th 2009 3:45PM by Mike Ayers
Born Robert Patterson in Philadelphia, Ali first learned to play drums in the US Army. He cited Art Blakey as a major influence and was a student of Philly Joe Jones. After his service was up, he got off the ground playing in R&B groups before hooking up with future jazz greats such as Lee Morgan and Jimmy Smith.
Ali became instantly associated with the '60s free jazz movement and contributed to many great Coltrane records such as 'Interstellar Space,' 'Stellar Regions' and 'Meditations.' He complimented and challenged veteran Elvin Jones when the saxophone great decided to go to a two-drummer format. He was admired for a wild, seemingly reckless playing style that simultaneously displayed a wicked sense of control.
Ali also was a fixture on Alice Coltrane records and over the years played with jazz giants such as David Murray, Sonny Fortune and James "Blood" Ulmer. In 1996, he was asked by Henry Rollins to provide the rhythmic backdrop to Rollins' spoken word album, 'Everything.'
He wasn't confined to just the drums, either. He dabbled in performance art, ran a loft club during the 1970s called Ali's Alley, was involved in the Vision Festival and was a constant fixture within New York City's experimental jazz scene. For the last six years, Ali has been playing and gigging with his own group, the Rashied Ali Quintet.