Ever the thinker, saxophonist Steve Coleman now delves into the connection between human biology and music with Functional Arrhythmias, perhaps his most accessible release in recent memory. With a vast discography that has covered everything from unadulterated funk in 1988's Sine Die (Pegasus) to advanced concepts in 2011's The Mancy of Sound (Pi), his curiosity and influence continue to expand.
Coleman reenlists the kinetic rhythm-section of Anthony Tidd
-esque contrapuntalism on "Lymph Swag (Dance of the Leukocytes)."
Like other perceptive bandleaders, the caliber of these younger musicians speaks of Coleman's listening abilities. Tidd's electric bass is supple yet pronounced with nuanced punctuations and Rickman's multicolored traps dance with accuracy and nuance. The connection between Coleman and Finlayson is superb, the saxophone's alto countering and engaging the young trumpeter's lyricism. Coleman's heady compositions have, at times, diminished the fact that he's an excellent saxophonist, as evinced in "Cerebellum Lean"'s swaying groove or the tender balladry in "Respiratory Flow."
The intriguing title refers "to the irrational rhythms found in healthy human heartbeat patterns and many of its compositions utilize the heartbeat pulse," with Coleman crediting drummer/percussionist Milford Graves