This is pianist Cecilia Coleman's first release as leader since moving to New York. The personnel in her modern mainstream quintet has changed and they've laid down a program of fresh new compositions for this, her seventh release overall, but it's still the same kind of dynamic sound that grabs you by the shirt collar and pounds your chest with passion.
Coleman formed her first trio in 1990 and her first quintet three years later, both in Los Angeles, where she took the jazz scene by surprise after graduation from the University of California in Long Beach. After a decade of soaking up the Los Angeles jazz atmosphere and making a significant impact on the music, she decided that New York had a different quality that agreed with her music more. The memories are all in place: Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk and many more legendary pioneers who've influenced Coleman along with the rest of us.
The pianist opens five of her program selections with brief solo piano versions of familiar songs, leading to one cohesive quintet adventure after another. Tenor saxophonist Adam Kolker, trumpeter David Smith, bassist Tim Givens and drummer Jeff Brillinger mesh with Coleman's driving piano to create quite a storm. She cascades up and down the keyboard percussively with plenty to say, as the unit ties a hard bop tradition together with spontaneous changes in mood and perspective.
It's a team effort where everybody converses freely. The trumpet and tenor frontline blows a stiff breeze that underscores the East Coast power that Coleman has unleashed. "Crazybird, loosely based on John Coltrane's "Lazy Bird, features antics that derive from knowing which rules can be broken. The freedom this quintet shows in its interpretations translates into a reliance on the tried and true jazz mainstream for its foundation but they march considerably farther.
You Are My Sunshine / Free; Along the Way; I
Cecilia Coleman: piano; David Smith: trumpet; Adam Kolker: tenor saxophone; Tim Givens: double bass; Jeff Brillinger: drums.
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