I never go to a concert with the pre-conception of how a work I’ve never heard will sound, but it was hard not to pre-judge Martin Suckling’s Candlebird, the second of three items in the Scottish Chamber Orchestra’s Younger Hall concert.
Illustrious lineage is often a mixed blessing, whatever your walk of life, simultaneously drawing unearned attention while casting a penumbra of past achievement that can seriously cloud the issue of creating individual identity. And in the jazz realm, it doesn’t get more illustrious than John Coltrane, the pioneering US saxophonist whose 1964 LP A Love Supreme ranks among the all-time classics in any genre. Following the recent half-century celebrations of the album’s release, Coltrane’s son Ravi also turns 50 this year. He too is a jazz saxophonist, and yet the paternal shadow he’s so deftly negotiated has been an almost entirely posthumous one, following his father’s sudden death from cancer at 40, shortly before Ravi’s second birthday. Over the course of six albums as leader, he’s won steadily increasing acclaim for his own distinctive voice, as both player and composer – artfully understated yet insistently exploratory, coolly self-possessed yet intensely emotive – with his latest, 2012’s Spirit Fiction, his debut on the iconic Blue Note label, hailed as the work of an artist truly hitting his prime. Coltrane Jr’s current tour teams him with pianist David Virelles, bassist Dezron Douglas and drummer Johnathan[sic] Blake.