Free-jazz drummer Rashied Ali, best known for playing with John Coltrane in the final years of the jazz master\'s life, has died. Rashied was 76 years old. His wife, Patricia Ali, says the drummer died at Manhattan\'s Bellevue Hospital of a blood clot in his lung on Wednesday, August 12, 2009 after suffering a heart attack and undergoing heart surgery.
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Rashied was born as Robert Patterson in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 1, 1935. His family was musical; his mother had sung with Jimmie Lunceford. His brother, Muhammad Ali, is also a drummer.
Over a career that spanned more than four decades, Rashied Ali performed with artists including Don Cherry, Albert Ayler, Alice Coltrane and Archie Shepp.
When John Coltrane decided to use two drummers at a performance at the Village Gate in November 1965, he chose Rashied Ali to back up drummer Elvin Jones. Rashied recorded with both men on the 1965 album \'Meditations\'.
On \'Interstellar Space\', recorded in February 1967 just a few months before his death, John Coltrane reduced the idea of a group to its absolute minimum and set for a duo with drummer Rashied Ali.
Rashied Ali interacted brilliantly with unexpected rhythmic twists and turns, using continuous rolls and cymbal details to create a polyrhythmic backdrop filled with subtle, responsive shifts in accents. It was all the support that Coltrane could wish for.
After the saxophonist\'s death, Rashied Ali toured Europe before returning to New York to play and record there. He opened the jazz club Ali\'s Alley in 1973 and launched the Survival Records label, which he maintained until his death.
In 2003 Rashied Ali formed The Rashied Ali Quintet. Earlier this year he released a \'Live In Europe\' album with that band. His wife said Thursday night: \"He was at the top of his game until his last day.\"