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Steve Coleman and Five Elements: Harvesting Semblances and Affinities

Glenn Astarita By

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Track review of "Clouds"

Celebrated and highly influential alto saxophonist Steve Coleman reenters the progressive jazz context with his cutting-edge Five Elements band. A purveyor of M-Base processes, which are centered upon a synchronous balance between structure and improvisation, Coleman's odd-metered metrics revert to kaleidoscopic sentiment on "Clouds."

Trombonist Tim Albright launches the track with warmly stated choruses, underscored by Thomas Morgan's bulging bass lines and Jen Shyu's instrumental-like vocalizations. Slightly intensified by Coleman's darting sax lines and trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson's contrasting statements, the ensemble's lucid imagery often mimics crisscrossing cloud movements. Moreover, the polytonal voicings provide the groundwork for shades of grey and white, as the shifting clouds parallel the band's slow fade out.

Coleman's artistic abstract entails his imaginative union of music and nature. Not so much a ballad, but more of an upbeat interpretation of the atmosphere and spirits around us.

Track Listing: Attila 02 (Dawning Ritual); Beba; Clouds; 060706-2319 (Middle of Water); Flos Ut Rosa Floruit; Attila 04 (Closing Ritual); Vernal Equinox 040320-0149 (Initiation).

Personnel: Steve Coleman: alto saxophone; Jonathan Finlayson: trumpet; Tim Albright: trombone; Jen Shyu: vocals; Thomas Morgan: bass; Tyshawn Sorey: drums; Marcus Gilmore: drums (5); Ramon Garcia Perez: percussion (5).

Title: Harvesting Semblances and Affinities | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Pi Recordings

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