Of all the players who have followed in John Coltrane's footsteps, the most directly connected is Ravi Coltrane, also a saxophonist. The son of Coltrane and his wife, Alice Coltrane--a well-known pianist and frequent musical collaborator with her husband--Ravi was not quite 2 years old when his father died.
The younger Coltrane, named after the Indian classical sitarist and composer Ravi Shankar, bears a striking resemblance to his father. Both the resemblance and the surname have made it far more perplexing for him to deal with his father's music than it has been for the innumerable other saxophonists who have not hesitated--as Ravi Coltrane has--to directly model their playing on the work of the legendary Trane.
"I grew up my whole early life just being Ravi, living in an environment in which almost nobody had heard of John Coltrane," he says, referring to his upbringing in Woodland Hills. "So I didn't have any pretensions about who I was. But as soon as I started playing, it changed. When I got to music school [at CalArts in Valencia], I was suddenly Coltrane's son--which was something I'd never had to deal with in my entire life."
It was a difficult transition for him to make, coming to maturity as a young player at a time when his father was the preeminent influence upon the instrument he had chosen for himself.