August 13, 2009 18:01

Jazz drummer Rashied Ali passes away

Innovative percussionist was 74

Jazz drummer Rashied Ali passes away
Jazz drummer Rashied Ali passed away yesterday (August 12) at the age of 74.

Ali, who was born Robert Patterson, began his career as a drummer in the US Army, and became famous in the '60s when he drummed with John Coltrane. He was best known for pioneering a free jazz technique. An album entitled 'Interstellar Space' subsequently came out as a duo with Coltrane.

Ali was the man behind New York jazz club Ali's Alley which he ran from 1973 to 1979, and he also headed up his own label, Survival Records.

The drummer continued as an influential member of the jazz scene throughout the '80s and '90s, performing with many groups including Phalanx, By Any Means and Prima Materia. He also played with the likes of Albert Ayler, Archie Shepp, Don Cherry, Gary Bartz, Dewey Redman and Carlos Santana.

Until his passing, Ali performed with The Rashied Ali Quintet, which he formed in 2003. The band’s most recent releases were 2006’s 'Judgment Day Vol. 1' and 'Judgment Day Vol. 2'.

The cause of death has not yet been disclosed.

--By our New York staff.
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