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Guy Berger

Steve Coleman Corner

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Loving this right now (or rather, disc 1; haven't listened to disc 2). Listening to the solo album on Tzadik and Pi trilogy is a 2014 resolution. :)

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The new one - Functional Arrhythmias is the one you need currently IMO.

It's a solid album, a solid recommendation. For me, over the last few releases Jen Shyu's vocals and Marcus Gilmore's drumming have been two key components... they've loomed large for me so their absence makes Functional Arrhythmias feel, as much as i like it, like a bit of a transitional record, the start of a new phase. Not that that's necessarilly a bad thing and it may just be some classic projecting on my part... I guess for me it's just a less exciting album than the earlier albums on Pi... more refined but more dry... any thoughts?

I'm still buying every Coleman album as they come out and I'm with Xybert on this. I've really enjoyed the preceding Coleman releases to Functional Arrythmias as I heard a greater depth to the overall sound. As someone not usually keen on vocals I've really taken to Shyu's vocals. I've found that I've been a bit underwhelmed by FA and its strpped back sound. Coleman and Finlayson still doing it for me but Tidd and Rickman's return just seems to me to take the music back some years. I still enjoy it as a Steve Coleman album but miss the breadth of sound on the 2007/8 sessions on Pi.

I hope he chooses to record and release something by his Reflex Trio with Virelles and Gilmore which was dynamite live

Reflex trio did get recorded, kinda.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9h6zLfBr-M

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The new one - Functional Arrhythmias is the one you need currently IMO.

It's a solid album, a solid recommendation. For me, over the last few releases Jen Shyu's vocals and Marcus Gilmore's drumming have been two key components... they've loomed large for me so their absence makes Functional Arrhythmias feel, as much as i like it, like a bit of a transitional record, the start of a new phase. Not that that's necessarilly a bad thing and it may just be some classic projecting on my part... I guess for me it's just a less exciting album than the earlier albums on Pi... more refined but more dry... any thoughts?

I'm still buying every Coleman album as they come out and I'm with Xybert on this. I've really enjoyed the preceding Coleman releases to Functional Arrythmias as I heard a greater depth to the overall sound. As someone not usually keen on vocals I've really taken to Shyu's vocals. I've found that I've been a bit underwhelmed by FA and its strpped back sound. Coleman and Finlayson still doing it for me but Tidd and Rickman's return just seems to me to take the music back some years. I still enjoy it as a Steve Coleman album but miss the breadth of sound on the 2007/8 sessions on Pi.

I hope he chooses to record and release something by his Reflex Trio with Virelles and Gilmore which was dynamite live

Reflex trio did get recorded, kinda.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9h6zLfBr-M

Wow, thanks. Now why didn't i think to look there too...doh!

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That's a great trio ... I first heard and met Coleman when he was playing in town with Doug Hammond's Trio many many years ago, nice guy, and I love his tone, cool fire.

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Whoa, had never heard of the Reflex Trio. Haven't got time to watch the full youtube video right now, but would seriously love an album from that line up.

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Reflex played London Jazz fest a couple of years ago and were very impressive (I think I'm repeating myself from up thread, sorry). My first real exposure to Virelles- check out his Pi disc, very interesting and different from your run of the mill piano leader date tapping into some interesting rhythms I assume from his Cuban heritage without sounding like Cuban Jazz. One of the few discs these days that is too short

Edited by mjazzg

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Reflex played London Jazz fest a couple of years ago and were very impressive (I think I'm repeating myself from up thread, sorry). My first real exposure to Virelles- check out his Pi disc, very interesting and different from your run of the mill piano leader date tapping into some interesting rhythms I assume from his Cuban heritage without sounding like Cuban Jazz. One of the few discs these days that is too short

Continuum and his playing on Jonathan Finlayson's Moment and the Message have definitely got me interested to hear what comes next from him.

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Any opinions on the SC album "Invisible Paths: First Scattering" (Tzadik)? I like SC a lot and was considering picking it up, but am kind of wary of a solo saxophone album by him.

I really like it. I have a soft spot for solo sax albums for a few reasons, one of which is that i simply find them to be great background music. There's a relaxed intimacy about them; i love having a solo saxophone album playing while i pot around the house from one room to another. Almost feels like the artist is chilling in one of the rooms of your house. In particular with this Steve Coleman album i'd always loved his playing but found the production on his eighties and nineties albums to be really off putting. An album with him unaccompanied really laid his playing bare. I'm not sure what it is but his playing really speaks to me so i found this album to be really engaging. I also really dug what i'd heard of him on his albums unaccompanied (for example track one of Weaving Symbolics) and thought "yeah i could dig a whole albums of this". That's pretty much what you get.

This thread made for interesting reading. Just like with any artist YMMV but you can't really judge recent Steve Coleman by his eighties or nineties stuff. Sometimes i feel like Steve Coleman's career is on the reverse trajectory of Miles'. Judging current Steve on albums like Tao of the Mad Phat would be like judging Miles purely on Tutu. In Marcus Gilmore he found a drummer that could be funky without being stuck on a grid. Jen Shyu's vocals will be a deal breaker for some, but for me her voice adds a wonderful surreal edge and some amazing colours (i also really dig Irene Aebi's vocals, so... )

Finally picked this up. This is great!!!

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Coleman has overhauled his website and is now selling paid subscriptions for premium content on it. Interesting experiment...

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Any opinions on the SC album "Invisible Paths: First Scattering" (Tzadik)? I like SC a lot and was considering picking it up, but am kind of wary of a solo saxophone album by him.

I really like it. I have a soft spot for solo sax albums for a few reasons, one of which is that i simply find them to be great background music. There's a relaxed intimacy about them; i love having a solo saxophone album playing while i pot around the house from one room to another. Almost feels like the artist is chilling in one of the rooms of your house. In particular with this Steve Coleman album i'd always loved his playing but found the production on his eighties and nineties albums to be really off putting. An album with him unaccompanied really laid his playing bare. I'm not sure what it is but his playing really speaks to me so i found this album to be really engaging. I also really dug what i'd heard of him on his albums unaccompanied (for example track one of Weaving Symbolics) and thought "yeah i could dig a whole albums of this". That's pretty much what you get.

This thread made for interesting reading. Just like with any artist YMMV but you can't really judge recent Steve Coleman by his eighties or nineties stuff. Sometimes i feel like Steve Coleman's career is on the reverse trajectory of Miles'. Judging current Steve on albums like Tao of the Mad Phat would be like judging Miles purely on Tutu. In Marcus Gilmore he found a drummer that could be funky without being stuck on a grid. Jen Shyu's vocals will be a deal breaker for some, but for me her voice adds a wonderful surreal edge and some amazing colours (i also really dig Irene Aebi's vocals, so... )

Finally picked this up. This is great!!!

:tup

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I've finally gotten around to listening to the first two PI discs (Harvesting Semblances & Affinities, The Mancy of Sound), which I picked up at a SC performance about three years ago. Interesting - I definitely wasn't anticipating this sound, which is much more "acoustic" and less funky (though still very rhythmically rich!) than the other discs I've heard. Will have to pick up Functional Arrhythmias too.

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I've finally gotten around to listening to the first two PI discs (Harvesting Semblances & Affinities, The Mancy of Sound), which I picked up at a SC performance about three years ago. Interesting - I definitely wasn't anticipating this sound, which is much more "acoustic" and less funky (though still very rhythmically rich!) than the other discs I've heard. Will have to pick up Functional Arrhythmias too.

They're very interesting albums. Thoughts not gathered at the moment but yeah, outstanding.

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Pi Recordings tweeted that Steve has will be releasing a new album titled SYNOVIAL JOINTS with the Council of Balance lineup this April. Can't wait to hear it!

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Pi Recordings tweeted that Steve has will be releasing a new album titled SYNOVIAL JOINTS with the Council of Balance lineup this April. Can't wait to hear it!

Sweet! Definitely something to look forward to.

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Count me excited by this news and duly educated by Jsngry's posted link

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Oh...the hip bone is jazz bone.

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An email went out to everyone on the Pi mailing list about a week ago with some details about the new release. I don't see anything wrong with copy/pasting most of it below but FWIW here's a link to their website where you can sign up to be on their mailing list: http://pirecordings.com/. Looks very interesting, i'm wondering if the 21 Musicians will perform on every track or if there will be variations of personnel from track to track (a bit like on Weaving Symbolics). Many great names in the group but i'm extra thrilled to see the return of Shyu and Gilmore.

Synovial Joints is the most ambitious project in Coleman’s 30-year career as a bandleader. The music is written for 21 musicians, encompassing his core Five Elements group, augmented by musicians from jazz, Afro-Cuban, Afro-Brazilian and contemporary classical circles. The music was based on ideas that reflect the processes, functions and rhythms of the human body. Coleman’s intention was to model individual elements of the musical composition on the physiological movements within the nervous, respiratory, cardiovascular, lymphatic, endocrine, and exocrine systems of the human body. Many of these systems are cyclical, involving the circulation of fluids, gases, and electrochemical signals throughout the body using various methods of rhythmic contraction and relaxation. He uses these rhythmic cycles to further advance the concept of musical flow, creating forward motion not just in a linear fashion, but with cyclical spin or rotation. The overall musical structure of the composition is held together based on the musculoskeletal system, hence the title.

Coleman also explores a concept he calls “camouflage orchestration” in these works. The orchestration of this music was inspired by listening to natural sounds recorded in the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest, where Coleman spends parts of each year. He uses cycles of overlapping rhythms that gradually move instrumental colors from foreground to middle ground to background, much as the variety of layered sounds reveal themselves as overlapping phrases in the rainforest.

Alto Saxophone: Steve Coleman
Trumpet: Jonathan Finlayson
Tenor Saxophone: Maria Grand
Flute: Barry Crawford
Clarinet: Rane Moore
Trumpet: Jeff Missal
Trombone: David Nelson
Trombone: Tim Albright
Violin: Kristin Lee
Viola: Chris Otto
Cello: Jay Campbell
Contrabass: Greg Chudzik
Piano: David Bryant
Guitar: Miles Okazaki
Bass: Anthony Tidd
Percussion: Alex Lipowski
Percussion: Nei Sacramento
Percussion: Mauricio Hererra
Percussion: Ramon Garcia Perez
Vocals: Jen Shyu
Drums: Marcus Gilmore

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Thanks for posting those details Xybert

I think it's the Council of Balance isn't it (I thought I read that somewhere)? In which case I'm assuming it'll be a big band as on the 'Genesis' disc of 'Genesis/Opening the Way' double set. I hope it is because that's a favourite

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Thanks for posting those details Xybert

I think it's the Council of Balance isn't it (I thought I read that somewhere)? In which case I'm assuming it'll be a big band as on the 'Genesis' disc of 'Genesis/Opening the Way' double set. I hope it is because that's a favourite

Yeah on the Pi site under 'Latest News' it has it as "Steve Coleman and the Council of Balance “Synovial Joints” will be released in April." I'm not familiar with previous Council of Balance stuff at all, will have to check it out.

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I saw Steve with his quartet (Jonathan Finlayson, Anthony Tidd, Marcus Gilmore) at the Jazz Gallery. After the first set I went to get his autograph on my copy of Functional Arrythmias and mentioned the upcoming album. He seemed pleasantly surprised when I asked him about the upcoming album but grimaced a little when I referred to it as a "big band" - "it's a large ensemble".

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"Large ensemble" will do me, just fine.

Glad to hear he's approachable and that you got the autograph. How was the gig?

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"Large ensemble" will do me, just fine.

Glad to hear he's approachable and that you got the autograph. How was the gig?

Great. I don't think I've ever seen him do a sub-standard gig.

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"Large ensemble" will do me, just fine.

Glad to hear he's approachable and that you got the autograph. How was the gig?

Great. I don't think I've ever seen him do a sub-standard gig.

that I can believe. He's a rare sighting in UK but the couple of times I've seen him were very memorable

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