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Guy Berger

Steve Coleman Corner

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Been heavily getting into Coleman today thanks to the free and legal downloads he offers on his site. I had "Tao of Mad Phat" when I was 13 but wasn't "getting" it b/c I was such a hard bop snob then. I listened now, and I couldn't believe I wasn't "getting it", I had "A Tale of 3 Cities" as well, back then. My mom's friend had tons of promos she gave to me that her friend got for review, a ton of RCA/Novus stuff around that time.

Edited by CJ Shearn

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There's a nice long article about Coleman and the new album by Harvey Mandel in the March issue of the Wire.

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Thanks for that. It's been a long while since I bought the Wire. This gives me a good reason to check it out again

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Anybody else enjoying the new disc? It's a good one. I am not sure if I like it better than Functional Arrhythmias, but I do prefer it to Harvesting Semblances & Affinities and The Mancy of Sound. The string arrangements are great - reminiscent of The Sonic Language of Myth.

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Anybody else enjoying the new disc? It's a good one. I am not sure if I like it better than Functional Arrhythmias, but I do prefer it to Harvesting Semblances & Affinities and The Mancy of Sound. The string arrangements are great - reminiscent of The Sonic Language of Myth.

Yeah, i'm really enjoying it. I've probably already spun it more times than i've spun Functional Arrhythmias, which to this day is an album that i like more than love, although i think i got off on the wrong foot with it and sometimes that can be hard to get around no matter how hard you try. Honestly, if had to choose just one Coleman Pi album at this moment it would be Synovial Joints. They all have a different flavour for me though, even the first two which appear to be the most similar have a different vibe to me.

A lot of the things that i like about this album are the same as i've liked about other recent Coleman albums: the solos are compelling to me, the compositions do it for me and i find them interesting, i like that there's a groove but we're not in Kansas anymore, i like that it's funky but again it doesn't sound like it's overtly trying to be FuNkEe in a corny way. Talking from memory here, the first two Pi albums could be a bit 'wall of sound' at times, and with the larger personnel on SJ i was kind of expecting something almost Exploding Star Orchestra-like but in a Steve Coleman stylee. I've been pleasantly surprised by how spacious SJ is, how the strings come in and out and add interesting colours when needed but don't overwhelm. It almost sounds 'programmed' in a way, a copy and paste method, like he's got a pallete in front of him and he's constructed the music from that palette without blurring the colours all in to a sonic mush.

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Anybody else enjoying the new disc? It's a good one. I am not sure if I like it better than Functional Arrhythmias, but I do prefer it to Harvesting Semblances & Affinities and The Mancy of Sound. The string arrangements are great - reminiscent of The Sonic Language of Myth.

Yeah, i'm really enjoying it. I've probably already spun it more times than i've spun Functional Arrhythmias, which to this day is an album that i like more than love, although i think i got off on the wrong foot with it and sometimes that can be hard to get around no matter how hard you try. Honestly, if had to choose just one Coleman Pi album at this moment it would be Synovial Joints. They all have a different flavour for me though, even the first two which appear to be the most similar have a different vibe to me.

A lot of the things that i like about this album are the same as i've liked about other recent Coleman albums: the solos are compelling to me, the compositions do it for me and i find them interesting, i like that there's a groove but we're not in Kansas anymore, i like that it's funky but again it doesn't sound like it's overtly trying to be FuNkEe in a corny way. Talking from memory here, the first two Pi albums could be a bit 'wall of sound' at times, and with the larger personnel on SJ i was kind of expecting something almost Exploding Star Orchestra-like but in a Steve Coleman stylee. I've been pleasantly surprised by how spacious SJ is, how the strings come in and out and add interesting colours when needed but don't overwhelm. It almost sounds 'programmed' in a way, a copy and paste method, like he's got a pallete in front of him and he's constructed the music from that palette without blurring the colours all in to a sonic mush.

Xybert, that is an excellent description of Synovial Joints. I ignored Coleman for years. After listening to Synovial Joints, I have been downloading material from his site and checking out concerts on You Tube; there is a really nice concert posted from Cully Jazz Festival from 2013.

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Are Coleman's Label Bleu albums available anywhere?  I love RESISTANCE IS FUTILE but am also interested in the other 3 (LUCIDARIUM, WEAVING SYMBOLICS, ON THE RISING OF THE 64 PATHS).

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I only ever saw Steve Coleman live once -- back in Kansas City maybe 10 years ago.

Amazingly detailed, hard-hitting but 'delicate' too (not sure how to explain that), and complex as all get-out.

The thing I remember most was trying like hell to figure out the *meter* of the tunes, and I finally just gave the fuck up and counted everything in a relatively fast "1".  Seriously -- I must have spent a good minute or more of nearly every tune trying to figure out the meter -- and it all seemed impossibly difficult.  Like damn near EVERYTHING was designed to obscure any sense of strong-beats vs. weaker-beats.

ALSO, very little tension and release (as I see I said in an earlier post in this thread, some 12 years ago).  ALL tension, NO release -- or at least that was my experience of it.

Impressive music, but I was done wore the fuck out when the night was over, that's for sure!!

Edited by Rooster_Ties

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1 hour ago, Rooster_Ties said:

The thing I remember most was trying like hell to figure out the *meter* of the tunes, and I finally just gave the fuck up and counted everything in a relatively fast "1".  Seriously -- I must have spent a good minute or more of nearly every tune trying to figure out the meter -- and it all seemed impossibly difficult.  Like damn near EVERYTHING was designed to obscure any sense of strong-beats vs. weaker-beats.

That's the advantage of having zero musical education. :lol: I don't even attempt figuring out the meter. I simply close my eyes and concentrate, and then hopefully get transported and feel like getting it. 

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1 hour ago, Rooster_Ties said:

I only ever saw Steve Coleman live once -- back in Kansas City maybe 10 years ago.

Amazingly detailed, hard-hitting but 'delicate' too (not sure how to explain that), and complex as all get-out.

I like this description and it holds with my impressions of seeing him live too. Next week in London with Five Elements, can't wait

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The perceived "delicacy" is perhaps a matter of tone. He's got a big sound that projects, but he definitely takes the "edge" off of it.

The first guy I heard doing that was a guy named Ricardo Strobert, came to Denton with Roy Haynes in the late 70s. Gotta think that that was a thing that was going around, because it started happening on records (that I heard) almost immediately after, Strobert was just the first guy I heard doing it.

So...whatever happened to Ricardo Strobert?

 

2 hours ago, Rooster_Ties said:

The thing I remember most was trying like hell to figure out the *meter* of the tunes, and I finally just gave the fuck up and counted everything in a relatively fast "1".  Seriously -- I must have spent a good minute or more of nearly every tune trying to figure out the meter -- and it all seemed impossibly difficult. 

I played along with that game when first getting into him and realized pretty quickly that besides from the odd meters, he also puts different accents/backbeats in different places among different instruments. It's a lot like James Brown, only when the one comes, it's not after the four.

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On 10/07/2018 at 0:23 AM, Guy Berger said:

Are Coleman's Label Bleu albums available anywhere?  I love RESISTANCE IS FUTILE but am also interested in the other 3 (LUCIDARIUM, WEAVING SYMBOLICS, ON THE RISING OF THE 64 PATHS).

Your post made me reconsider the Steve Coleman Label Bleu studio albums. I ordered a sealed, mint copy of On the Rising of the 64 Paths through Discogs this morning. Cost me €16.50.

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