Recognized most for his keyboard work but also a composer, producer, arranger, and vocoder-armed vocalist, Brandon Coleman is among the flock of jazz-rooted musicians hatched out of Los Angeles during the early 2000s. The musician is connected with virtually all West Coast luminaries of his generation -- Kamasi Washington, Ryan Porter, Miles Mosley, Thundercat, and so on -- and has ventured stylistically afield with Babyface and Anthony Hamilton among those who have sought his talent. Moreover, Coleman is likely the lone link from smooth jazz stalwart Boney James to polyglot experimentalist Flying Lotus, the latter of whom featured him on Until the Quiet Comes and You're Dead!, and issued Resistance on his Brainfeeder label.
Releasing on the same label as two of the above-mentioned artists is an intriguing but ultimately great fit given the label's avant-garde interpretation of funk. Brainfeeder have been pushing the boundaries of contemporary music for a while now and this album is not different. But whilst Coleman's interpretation initially feels fresh, Resistance's commitment to hammering a niche sound starts to make it run a little dry once you've played it a few times.
Many know him as "Professor Boogie" in Kamasi Washington's live band, but few might be familiar with Brandon Coleman's solo work. With his debut solo record, Resistance, the keyboardist has etched out a corner of the R&B/funk genre in style. A combination of synth-guided jams and tense rhythms, Resistance works its way through 12 tracks with pent-up energy— as if Coleman is keeping some semblance of hesitation or, well, resistance.
Older siblings can mess you up in so many ways. They can out-wrestle you, put your toys on a higher shelf should the whim strike, casually tell you that you're adopted at dinner. And then there's what Brandon Coleman's brother did to him when he first took up playing piano at the age of 16: He gave him a copy of Herbie Hancock's Sunlight. Hancock's skills could make almost any novice abandon the piano, but this 1978 disco-funk album was shot through instead with Hancock's vast array of synths and his vocoder-warped vocals.