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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.
Personnel: Steve Coleman: alto saxophone; Jonathan Finlayson: trumpet; Tim Albright: trombone; Jen Shyu: vocals; Thomas Morgan: bass; Tyshawn Sorey: drums.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.