180

Steve Coleman and Five Elements: The Mancy of Sound

Mark F. Turner By

Sign in to view read count
Steve Coleman and Five Elements: The Mancy of Sound A saxophonist of a different order—part griot, theorist, numerologist, and incessant seeker of knowledge— Steve Coleman continues to forge new paths in creative music. He's influenced more of today's forward thinking artists than almost anyone in recent memory with his proven M-Base concepts. His critically acclaimed 2010 recording, Harvesting Semblances and Affinities (Pi Recordings), was a welcome return to the spotlight, and the follow-up, The Mancy of Sound , is even more rewarding.

To explain Coleman's music is no small feat, of which the eight exhaustive compositions include interwoven syncopations, studies in astral concepts, labyrinthine counterpoint, and deep jazz roots. His longstanding Five Elements ensemble has evolved over the years; here it includes the open minds of exciting notables such as drummer Tyshawn Sorey, trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson and vocalist Jen Shyu, who execute these painstaking charts flawlessly, like threading strands of yarn, into a larger and more colorful tapestry.

The addition of a second drummer, Chris Persad Group, The Dautaj, Marcus Gilmore , Coquito, Fri, with Sorey, as well as percussionist Ramon Garcia Perez, adds yet another dimension—in particular, to the "Odú Ifá Suite" suite (originally created for M-Base alumnus, singer Cassandra Wilson). Its four themes (Fire, Earth, Air, and Water) are represented from the fiery exchange of sparring drums in "Fire—Ogbe" to the calming syncopation of "Water—Oyeku" with the flowing sounds of wordless lyrics and ethnic chants. The suite is contemporary yet primordial, extrapolating symbolization and philosophical principals from the Yoruba-speaking people of West Africa.

More than just a conceptualist, Coleman is also fierce performer who delivers darting runs that are equally fluid, and incisive—a word that describes each of these talented musicians. There are points throughout the album where the array of instruments comes together in harmonious cacophony, like the alignment of planets. The analogies carry deeper meanings in "Jan 18" and "Noctiluca (Jan 11)"—two works based on the eight lunar phases, as viewed from a specific place at particular moments. What will Coleman think of next? Maybe only the stars will tell.

Track Listing: Jan 18; Formation 1; Fire-Ogbe [Odú Ifá Suite]; Earth-Idi [Odú Ifá Suite]; Air-Iwori [Odú Ifá Suite]; Water-Oyeku [Odú Ifá Suite]; Formation 2; Noctiluca (Jan 11).

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

Title: The Mancy of Sound | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Pi Recordings


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Lantern CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Unification CD/LP/Track Review Unification
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Crossing CD/LP/Track Review Crossing
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Unit[e] CD/LP/Track Review Unit[e]
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "Onward" CD/LP/Track Review Onward
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 5, 2017
Read "Dancing Our Way To Death" CD/LP/Track Review Dancing Our Way To Death
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 16, 2016
Read "House Of Waters" CD/LP/Track Review House Of Waters
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 14, 2016
Read "Crop Circles" CD/LP/Track Review Crop Circles
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 16, 2017
Read "Left Right Left" CD/LP/Track Review Left Right Left
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 21, 2017
Read "Into A Myth" CD/LP/Track Review Into A Myth
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 19, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.