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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Coleman: Morphogenesis

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Steve Coleman's music has long sounded largely removed from the direct influence of his native Southside Chicago, not because those elements are missing, but because he creates a hybrid universe that owes as much to Africa and Europe, and to folk, funk, classical and jazz. His newest release, Morphogenesis, while furthering Coleman's musical development, displays features that were present as far back as his Drop Kick (BMG, 1995) and up to Harvesting Semblances and Affinities (Pi Recordings, 2010); the stripped ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Coleman's Natal Eclipse: Morphogenesis

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After his 2015 masterpiece, Synovial Joints, alto saxophonist/composer Steve Coleman left his listeners wondering how he could try to top that extraordinary project. With 21 musicians and an ambitious melding of classical and jazz instrumentation with intricate compositional decisions, Coleman used that record to reveal yet another dimension of his constantly-evolving musical concept--one that's been changing shape for over thirty years now. In some ways, Morphogenesis continues that project: although this is a smaller nine-piece ensemble, almost all of these ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Steve Coleman and Five Elements at Albright-Knox Art Gallery

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Steve Coleman and Five Elements Albright-Knox Art Gallery Art of Jazz Buffalo, NY October 29, 2016 If Steve Coleman's set at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery proved anything, it's that residencies are still a beneficial means to cultivating unrivaled virtuosity within a band. In the case of composer, alto saxophonist, and bandleader Steve Coleman and his band Five Elements, a recent 11-day run of shows and workshops at Detroit's Carr Center allowed for ...

BEST OF / YEAR END

Jeff Dayton-Johnson's 2015 Mixtape

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The narrator of Jean-Jacques Schuhl's 2002 novel Ingrid Caven muses, “I like the connection, the splice, not the things themselves; what's between them, their rapport. Two ideas, images, the bridge between two harmonies for the jazz musician..." It's an interesting esthetic statement regarding jazz: that part of the music's appeal lies not in its components, but in its power to make connections among those components. A heady and appropriate benediction for this list of 2015 records that I listened to ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Coleman and the Council of Balance: Synovial Joints

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The recipient of a 2014 MacArthur Genius grant, alto saxophonist Steve Coleman is one of the most innovative contemporary improvisers and composers. Over a career that has spanned three decades Coleman has restlessly explored unique and ingenious ways of spontaneous expression and artistic conceptualization. On Synovial Joints Coleman leads his large ensemble The Counsel of Balance on a provocative and intricately constructed series of interconnected pieces. The harmonically complex and textured music flows seamlessly from one track to ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Coleman and the Council of Balance: Synovial Joints

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Composer and saxophonist Steve Coleman grew up in Chicago's AACM neighborhood before moving on to New York's big band scene in the 1970s. Diverse influences combined with his assorted academic interests in philosophy, world religion and nature, have made him a source for some of the most unique music of the past twenty years. While not immune from critical misunderstanding, the recent winner of MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellowships and the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award has proven himself an enduring ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Steve Coleman and Five Elements at SFJAZZ

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Steve Coleman and Five Elements SFJAZZ San Francisco, CA December 14, 2014 “The main thing that I consciously try to follow is things I find in nature, in universe. Basically I see the universe as sort of giant palette of forms within forms."--Steve Coleman He is a 2014 MacArthur Fellow. An alto saxophonist and bandleader who has taught at UC Berkeley. A disciple of Chicago saxophonists Von Freeman, Sonny Stitt and Bunky Green. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Coleman and Five Elements: Functional Arrhythmias

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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 (electric bass) and Sean Rickman (drums) who appeared on The Sonic ...

INTERVIEW

Steve Coleman: Symbols and Language

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Saxophonist Steve Coleman's The Mancy of Sound (Pi Recordings, 2011) was one of the records of 2011. Thematically and structurally challenging on the one hand, dynamic and funky on the other, the music's contrasts reflect Coleman's view of the world, in all its complexity and simplicity. Coleman's fierce intellect carries simple logic, wrapped in many-layered waves of knowledge; so, too, the music on this recording may seem overwhelming at first, until repeated listening gradually unveils the simple truths within. For ...


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