Release Date: Mar 26, 2013
Record label: Pi Recordings
The influential American alto saxophonist Steve Coleman has a reputation for the arcane (his works simmer with polyrhythmic innovations, lunar-calendar calculations and inscrutable spiritual references), but these pieces inspired by the human heartbeat represent his most open invitation in years. He's joined by fine trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson, bass guitarist Anthony Tidd and drummer Sean Rickman; and in guitarist Miles Okazaki he has a multi-talented newcomer who looks to be as much of an innovative thinker. While some of the ascetically curt melodies, edgily avant-funky grooves and impassively entwined counterpoint are familiar Coleman traits, the music is several degrees warmer: full of sparky ensemble writing, varied percussion sounds and vivacious grooves.
Steve Coleman has been one of the most interesting and influential leaders and composers in jazz during the last 25 to 30 years. When he first emerged, he seemed to combine a disciplined approach with an interest in funk elements—yet his approach led to a freedom from traditional structures. Coleman quickly gathered an impressive array of fellow musicians who were willing to explore new structures of composing and improvising with him, the so-called M-Base Collective.
The most exciting and substantial Coleman release of the last few years. Martin Longley 2013 New York alto saxophonist Steve Coleman has pared his long-running Five Elements combo down to a pointed quartet, ditching the trimmings that have decorated recent incarnations. This enables a particularly hardened cerebral-funk manifestation of Coleman’s M-Base sound.
Steve Coleman and Five Elements FUNCTIONAL ARRHYTHMIAS Vibration is essence for the alto saxophonist and composer Steve Coleman, whose nearly 30-year output as a leader suggests one long investigation, discursive but controlled. “Functional Arrhythmias,” just out on Pi Recordings, comes with a new conceptual hook: It’s a collection of pieces inspired by the rhythms of human biological systems, bearing titles like “Limbic Cry,” “Respiratory Flow” and (best of all) “Lymph Swag (Dance of the Leukocytes).” But the album isn’t half as arcane as that all sounds. As on two previous releases with his flagship band, Five Elements, Mr.