Friday, August 02, 2013
Steve Coleman Presents Three Unique Sets at 2013 Newport Jazz Festival® on Sunday, August 4
The iconoclastic Chicago-born alto saxophonist, composer, bandleader and educator Steve Coleman will perform at the 2013 Newport Jazz Festival® on Sunday, August 4, in three eclectic configurations designed to highlight his rooted and revolutionary artistry.
Coleman is revered as the founder of M-BASE, an acronym for Macro - Basic Array of Structured Extemporizations, a musical genre/philosophy that incorporates elements from the folkloric music of the African Diaspora fused with musical ideas influenced by ancient metaphysical concepts and patterns found in nature.
Coleman takes over the Alex and Ani Harbor Stage from 2:45 - 4:45 pm. He will perform music from his latest CD, Functional Arrhythmias, inspired by infinite variety of rhythms in the human body, with his latest edition of The Five Elements, his principle band founded in 1981 The groupt includes two returning alumni, electric bassist Anthony Tidd and drummer Sean Rickman, along with trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson and guitarist Miles Okazaki.
The saxophonist will also premiere a newly-commissioned composition with the Talea Ensemble, a New York-based chamber orchestra, whose repertoire includes music influenced by European medieval, Indian classical and 20th Century idioms. Rounding his two-hour set, he will also perform in a rare duet setting with another long-time associate, pianist David Bryant, which will showcase Coleman's fluent laser-like, Bird/Bunky Green/Von Freeman-influenced alto sax lines in a more open and intimate format.
The name Coleman has always symbolized revolution in jazz. In the thirties, tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins expanded the vistas of improvisation with his groundbreaking rendition of "Body and Soul." Two decades later, Ornette Coleman came to New York with a plastic saxophone and stretched the outer limits of the blues and post Charlie Parker bebop with his angular harmolodic conceptions on his albums Change of the Century and This is Our Music. And, in the late seventies - the halcyon era of the Young Lions - Coleman, born in 1956, one year after Parker's death, came to the Big Apple from the Windy City and restructured the metaphysics of modern jazz with the creation of M-BASE, ingeniously fusing jazz, rock, R&B, funk, electronica and world music into a soulful and syncretic synthesis that is world-encompassing. At one time, M-BASE included many of today's brightest jazz stars: drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, saxophonists Greg Osby and Ravi Coltrane, pianist Vijay Iyer and trombonist Robin Eubanks. Coleman's influence continues today, as evidenced by his links to several artists' appearance at the Festival: Alto saxophonist Miguel Zenon counts Coleman as a major influence, and guitarist Rez Abassi toured with Coleman. Roy Haynes' grandson, drummer Marcus Gilmore played with Coleman and Coleman's trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson recorded on guitarist Mary Halvorson's CD Saturn Sings.
"I've always been fascinated with nature, from the time I was a little kid," Coleman told Tom Greenland in allaboutjazz.com, "so it was a natural progression to go into that area when I got into music ... That kind of stuff fascinates me...everything from the microscopic stuff all the way up to the galaxies, black holes and all that ... and I always try to figure out ways of expressing my relationship to that through sound."
The son of a father who was a die-hard Charlie Parker fan, Coleman grew up in the Windy City with a love for jazz as well as Kung-Fu movies, and R&B, started playing the saxophone at age 14 and spent two years at Illinois Wesleyan University and Roosevelt University (Chicago Music College). Upon his arrival in New York, Coleman worked with the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra and with Cecil Taylor, David Murray, Dave Holland and Sam Rivers while he was formulating his M-BASE concept. Coleman has also worked with Sting and The Roots, and his 25-plus recordings as a leader feature an eclectic array albums including the futuristic Black Science, the kinetic Rhythm in Mind, The Sign and the Seal: Transmissions of the Metaphysics of a Culture, inspired by Afro-Cuban rhythms, The Ascension of Light and The Mancy of Sound. Coleman's other bands include, The Mystic Rhythm Society, Metrics and the Council of Balance. He taught as an associate professor at the University of California at Berkeley in from 2000 - 2002, and traveled extensively to India, Indonesia, Cuba, West Africa and Brazil.
When Steve Coleman performs at the Newport Jazz Festival on Sunday, August 4, listeners will hear a visionary artist at the peak of his musical powers, influenced by physics, metaphysics, astronomy, numerology, history, the environment, and the spiritual studies. "Sonny Rollins once told me, 'I think there are two kinds of music: that which expands and that which contracts,'" Coleman told Anil Prasad on the website Interviews: Music Without Borders. I want to be part of the tradition that expands."
The Newport Jazz Festival® presented by Natixis Global Asset Management takes place at the International Tennis Hall of Fame at the Newport Casino featuring Natalie Cole and Bill Charlap with special guest Freddy Cole on Friday, August 2, 8:00 pm. The music moves to Fort Adams State Park on Saturday and Sunday, August 3 - 4 , with Wayne Shorter's 80th Birthday celebration with special guest Herbie Hancock, Marcus Miller, Esperanza Spalding, Chick Corea, Joshua Redman, Roy Haynes, Hiromi, Dizzy Gillespie Big Band under the direction of Paquito D'Rivera, Gregory Porter and more.