Steve Coleman And Five Elements

COMPOSERS: Steve Coleman And Five Elements
LABELS: RCA
WORKS: Curves of Life
PERFORMER: Steve Coleman (as); Andy Milne (kbds); Reggie Washington (b); Gene Lake (d)
CATALOGUE NO: 74321 31693 2
Altoist Steve Coleman stands apart from his young peers. Musically uncompromising, he operates through the so-called M-Base musician’s collective rather than a record company. He can and does play contemporary bebop – famously alongside bassist Dave Holland – and his free-blowing attitude invokes the spirit of Charlie Parker. But he leans towards hip-hop and his playing has an aggressive, hectoring edge. To add to the frisson of danger in his live work, he prefers to leave the set-list at home and see what comes out on the night. This release shows what happened last year in a small Paris club: sparks flew and saxophone Proteus David Murray stepped out of the audience to sit in. The opener, ‘Multiplicity of Approaches’, has Coleman’s linear improv at its unremitting best, and ‘The Gypsy’ is as close to reflection as you will hear. But ‘I’m Burning Up’ is the stand-out, largely on account of Murray’s extraordinary acrobatics and for the ‘gangsta’ rap which evolves into a class vocalese duet. GB

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