Release Date: Sep 5, 2011
Record label: Pi
Last time we heard from jazz artist Steve Coleman, he was giving us one of the best albums of the year with Harvesting Semblances and Affinities. It was also a notable release because Coleman and his band the Five Elements were finally seeing American distribution through Pi records after being absent from the domestic market for nine years. But I would be lying if I said it was an easy masterpiece to swallow.
Reflections on the role of music as divination by Beethoven, Scriabin and Coltrane appear on the sleeve of this followup to saxophonist Steve Coleman's Harvesting Semblances and Affinities album of last year. They confirm that Coleman (a founder of New York's experimental M-Base movement in the 1980s) is eschewing anything you could whistle in the bath. This set adds extra percussion to the regular lineup of trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson, trombonist Tim Albright, drummer Tyshawn Sorey and vocalist Jen Shyu.
Flickering phrases of eerie dissonance emerge from Coleman’s latest, impressive set. Kevin Le Gendre 2011 Although jazz guide books invariably flag up Steve Coleman’s unorthodox approaches to meter and rhythm, it is worth noting that the Chicago alto saxophonist has been extending what might be called Afro-Latin jazz since his debut three decades ago. His comprehensive research of Yoruba philosophy as well as music has produced a signature sound that is not entirely disconnected from Dizzy Gillespie and Chano Pozo’s innovations of the 1940s, but it’s significantly more enigmatic and ancestral.