Support All About Jazz

All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help
270

Steve Coleman: The Sonic Language of Myth

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count Views
A lot of sound and fury here. Signifying what? Well, according to RCA Victor’s publicity department, The Sonic Language of Myth is “a philosophical journey in sound. Incorporating ancient philosophical, astrological and musical precepts into his compositional foundation, Steve Coleman presents his way of hearing and experiencing music.” And since these precepts are so ancient, who’s going to argue with him? Not I. I’m far more interested in the music itself. Is it Jazz? More or less. Does it swing? Sometimes. At the very least, one has to give Coleman credit for doing it his way, whether or not he agrees with what the alto saxophonist and his colleagues (including a multitude of guest artists) have accomplished. Me? I’m largely mystified, but that’s my fault, not Coleman’s. As he says, “The way a music sounds depends not only on what the musician is expressing but also on what the listener is hearing.” And therein, as Shakespeare might say, lies the rub. I hear what Coleman and company are doing; I am simply unable to understand (or appreciate) it. Coleman goes on to say that while he realizes that “for most people music is entertainment,” to him “music also tells a story. Those who are ready (why is he looking at me?) will hear the story; however, I believe that for music that is based on the principles of creation (presumably his music, and how’s that for pre–empting censure?), even those who listen for entertainment still subconsciously receive mind–expanding vibrations.“ Which is how I must be receiving mine from Coleman’s album, as consciously, at least, there’s no emotional or spiritual bond in sight. Again, Coleman has the answer: “Each selection contains an outer meaning and an inner (immanent) meaning.” I think it’s the inner meaning that may be causing the problem, although I’ve not gleaned a whole lot of pleasure or insight from the outer meaning either. But other, more enlightened souls may acquire plenty, and one must admit that Coleman is an impressive saxophonist, no matter how impenetrable his music may be.

Track listing: Precession; Maat; The Twelve Powers; The Gate; Seth; Ausar (Reincarnation); Heru (Redemption) (68:14).

Personnel:

Steve Coleman, alto sax; Anthony Tidd, electric bass; Sean Rickman, drums; Miguel

| Record Label: RCA Victor | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


  • Jan 18
    Jan 18
    Steve Coleman
    The Mancy of Sound
General Articles
Best of / Year End
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
Read more articles
Synovial Joints
Synovial Joints
Pi Recordings
2015
buy
Functional Arrhythmias
Functional Arrhythmias
Pi Recordings
2013
buy
The Mancy of Sound
The Mancy of Sound
Pi Recordings
2011
buy
Harvesting Semblances and Affinities
Harvesting Semblances...
Pi Recordings
2010
buy
Invisible Paths: First Scattering
Invisible Paths:...
Tzadik
2007
buy
Weaving Symbolics
Weaving Symbolics
Label Bleu
2007
buy
Roy Hargrove Roy Hargrove
trumpet
Kenny Garrett Kenny Garrett
sax, alto
Cassandra Wilson Cassandra Wilson
vocalist
Ornette Coleman Ornette Coleman
sax, alto
Chris Potter Chris Potter
reeds
William Parker William Parker
bass, acoustic
Geri Allen Geri Allen
piano
Branford Marsalis Branford Marsalis
saxophone

More Articles

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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