270

Steve Coleman: The Sonic Language of Myth

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
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).


Track Listing: Precession; Maat; The Twelve Powers; The Gate; Seth; Ausar (Reincarnation) Listen; Heru (Redemption).

Personnel: Tim Albright: trombone; Ralph Alessi: trumpet; Erik Charlston: vocals; Steve Coleman: alto sax; Ravi Coltrane: tenor sax; Miguel Diaz: percussion; Shane Endsley: trumpet; Dave Gold: viola; Craig Handy: tenor sax; Stefon Harris: vibraphone; Dorothy Lawson: cello; Vijay Lyer: piano; Karen McVoy: vocals; Robert Mitchell: piano; Jason Moran: piano; Eugene Palmore: vocals; Sara Parkins: violin; Todd Reynolds: violin; Sean Rickman: drums; Jeanne Ricks: vocals; Mary Rowell: violin; Rosangela Silvestre: vocals; Anthony Tidd: electric bass; Reggie Washington: acoustic bass.

Title: The Sonic Language of Myth | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: RCA Victor


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read ON Tour CD/LP/Track Review ON Tour
by John Kelman
Published: October 22, 2017
Read On a Distant Shore CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Signal 9 CD/LP/Track Review Signal 9
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 22, 2017
Read For the Love of You CD/LP/Track Review For the Love of You
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Recent Developments CD/LP/Track Review Recent Developments
by John Sharpe
Published: October 21, 2017
Read "Together, As One" CD/LP/Track Review Together, As One
by Ian Patterson
Published: February 16, 2017
Read "Trail Magic" CD/LP/Track Review Trail Magic
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 19, 2017
Read "Miles Goes Wes" CD/LP/Track Review Miles Goes Wes
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 18, 2017
Read "The Django Experiment I & II" CD/LP/Track Review The Django Experiment I & II
by Peter Jurew
Published: April 2, 2017
Read "Vol. 1 - This Is My Swamp" CD/LP/Track Review Vol. 1 - This Is My Swamp
by Paul Naser
Published: September 29, 2017
Read "Caipi" CD/LP/Track Review Caipi
by Roger Farbey
Published: February 9, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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