Saxophoniste alto, compositeur, programmeur, producteur et enseignant américain, Steve Coleman est un authentique génie qui réinvente sans cesse la musique, dune façon instantanée, quasi dune minute à lautre. A l'origine attiré par le funk, il s'intéresse de plus en plus à la musique improvisée et rencontre de nombreux musiciens créatifs comme Doug Hammond ou Von Freeman. Coleman affine sa musique et s'ouvre à diverses tendances musicales.
En 1981, il forme le groupe Steve Coleman and Five Elements et dirige trois autres groupes : Metrics, Mystic Rhythm Society et Council of Balance. Il mêle ses réflexions philosophiques et ses recherches sur la culture ancienne pour explorer de nouvelles pistes musicales. Il est l'un des fondateurs du mouvement M-Base, famille spirituelle créée autour du concept du jeu sans bornes préétablies, de façon créative et enrichie de l'expérience venue du peuple afro-américain autant que de la diaspora africaine. Initialement influencé par les saxophonistes Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Von Freeman et Bunky Green, Coleman a joué et enregistré avec Thad Jones, Sam Rivers, le batteur Doug Hammond, Cecil Taylor, Abbey Lincoln et Dave Holland. Il a également développé un programme nommé 'The Improviser' permettant de développer des improvisations et des rythmes de batterie en utilisant l'intelligence artificielle.
Steve Coleman, infatigable, apprend, étudie, observe : le comportement des abeilles, légyptologie, le symbolisme, les mathématiques, lastronomie voire même lastrologie. Il côtoie des philosophes, des maîtres yogis, Sonny Rollins quil a officiellement sollicité, et il étudie sans relâche le langage de Charlie Parker ou la vie dArt Tatum. Il est également à lécoute des jeunes musiciens, à New York où il organise des workshops à la Jazz Gallery, mais aussi à Cuba, au Ghana, en Inde, en Egypte et dans chaque parcelle des mondes quil parcourt.
Depuis le début de son formidable parcours, Steve Coleman a cherché sans relâche à apprendre des autres, du monde, de la nature et à transmettre ce savoir, partager ses découvertes, ses interrogations. Steve Coleman qui a révolutionné les conceptions rythmiques du jazz, propose aujourdhui une (re)configuration des Five Elements, sans section rythmique. Dans cette nouvelle constallation, chaque musicien se voit confier un rythme spécifique, grâce auquel il calibre les formes improvisées dans une symétrie de séquences en boucles emboîtées. Ce vertigineux jeu d'ensemble a ouvert à tous la boîte des rythmes. Voilà longtemps que le saxophoniste a repris pour son compte l'expression de Charles Mingus, "composition spontanée" : l'étude musicale des structures et des mouvements.
Si Coleman laisse lintuition diriger certains de ses choix, il a sur sa musique une profonde réflexion qui va, pour cet album en particulier, jusquà lordonnance dune suite où les pièces se répondent de façon symétrique et les compositions font référence aux mathématiques, à lastrologie et aussi à la numérologie. Pourtant, il avoue créer de la musique qui nest pas destinée à être comprise mais plutôt à être ressentie. Cet étonnant mélange de sophistication et dénergie sauvage, de maîtrise et de lâcher-prise caractérisent lapproche de ce musicien singulier. Lincroyable vitalité quinsuffle Steve Coleman à la musique daujourdhui est due à une démarche originale qui a la rare et audacieuse ambition de concilier la réflexion et lintuition, lécriture et limprovisation, les mathématiques et la poésie, lénonçable et lindicible.
Steve Coleman, born September 20, 1956 (1956-09-20) (age 52), is an American saxophone player, spontaneous composer, composer and band leader. His music and concepts have been a heavy influence on contemporary jazz.
Born in Chicago, Illinois, Coleman moved to New York City in 1978 and has lived in the NYC area since that time. Although he has led several groups over the years, his main group 'Steve Coleman and Five Elements' began in 1981 and is still active today.
He was one of the founders of the so-called M-Base movement, has led several groups, and has recorded extensively. Initially influenced by saxophonists Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Von Freeman and Bunky Green, Coleman has performed and recorded with Thad Jones, Sam Rivers, drummer Doug Hammond, Cecil Taylor, Abbey Lincoln and Dave Holland. He has incorporated many elements from the folkloric music of the African Diaspora fused with musical ideas influenced by ancient metaphysical concepts. He has stated that his main concern is the use of music as a language of sonic symbols used to express the nature of man's existence.
Coleman's work around 1990, such as the recording [Black Science (album)|Black Science]], is unusual for its indefinite meter. This is accomplished in many ways, but one example of this technique is composing music that involves each musician performing in different but related time spans, generally resulting in asymmetric cycles, for example a cycle of 7 against a cycle of 11. The feel of the resulting music is usually groove-based, but with a loose structure that is the consequence of the melodic, harmonic and rhythmic relationships of the various cycles. A highlight of this period is the recording The Tao of Mad Phat (fringe zones), which was recorded in front of a live studio audience.
Coleman does not agree with using categories to describe music today, in particular he does not use the term jazz. Preferring a more organic approach to music he uses the term Spontaneous Composition. According to Coleman there extends back into ancient times a tradition of musicians who have attempted to express through music the various visions and realities that they perceive, and for him this is the driving force behind many of the so-called innovations in music (and indeed in other fields as well). He feels that the various tools and fields of inquiry that people have used (physics and metaphysics, number, language, music, dance, astronomy, etc.) are all related and present one holistic body of work. The various forms that his music assumes are not only intuitively inspired by but
intuitively and logically determined by the human perception of The Great Work (i.e. the creation of all Nature by the Universal Mind).
One of the primary methods that Coleman uses to create his music is linked to two concepts: Sacred Geometry (the use of shapes to symbolically express natural principles), and Energy (the potential for change and change itself in physical, metaphysical and psychic phenomena, including Life, Growth, etc.). Coleman uses various kinds of musical structures to symbolize the Sacred Geometry and specific kinds of musical movement to reference the various states of Energy. In any event the concept of Change seems to be central to his theory. He has stated that it is the Change between the various musical structures that represents process, with the structures themselves being symbolic of various principles. Coleman believes that it is through the Spontaneous Composition of forms that these ideas can be most readily expressed, regardless of external stylistic appearances. A frequent statement of his is it is the movement that is important.
These ideas, although rare, are not new in music. Musicians as diverse as Johann Sebastian Bach, Béla Bartók and John Coltrane have stated similar ideas.
Born: March 28, 1978 Born and raised in Peoria, Illinois, from immigrant parents of East Timor and Taiwan, Jen Shyu is a musician, composer, dancer, and band leader based in New York City. She has also recorded and toured with saxophonist Steve Coleman and Five Elements since 2003. Having studied dance from age 6, piano from age 7, and violin from age 8, she performed as piano soloist at age 13 the Finale of Tchaikovskys Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Peoria Symphony Orchestra and placed 6th at age 9 at the Stravinsky International Piano Competition. Jen studied opera at Stanford University (B.A. 2000), Oxford University in England, the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, and the Lake Placid Institute in New York. Before moving to NY, Jen lived three years collaborating with Bay Area musicians, producing her debut album For Now (4am Music 2002). Since 2001, Jen has traveled many times to Taiwan to research Taiwanese folk and aboriginal music, twice to Cuba to study Afro-Cuban music and dance and to investigate the history of the Chinese Cubans, and to Brazil to study dance with Rosangela Silvestre and Vera Passos. Jen recently composed for and performed with actress/performance artist Soomi Kim on her piece Lee/gendary inspired by Bruce Lee at the first National Asian American Theatre Festival. Having also worked with late great poet Sekou Sundiata on his 51st Dream State, Jen is currently fostering her multidisciplinary composition project Jade Tongue. 2009 MacDowell Fellow, 2008 Roulette Space/Jerome Foundation Emerging Artist Commission & World Premiere of Cry of a Nomad with choreographer Satoshi Haga, 2007 Asian Cultural Council Fellow, 2006 Bronx Council on the Arts BRIO Award for Composition.
Awards 2009 MacDowell Fellow, 2008 Roulette Space/Jerome Foundation "Emerging Artist" Commission & World Premiere of "Cry of a Nomad" with choreographer Satoshi Haga, 2007 Asian Cultural Council Fellow, 2006 Bronx Council on the Arts "BRIO" Award for Composition.
Noted as a trumpeter and composer of merit, Jonathan Finlayson has been an active voice in the New York music scene since his move from his native California in September of 2000. His talents as a composer and trumpeter have been noted by such prestigious publication as: The New York Times, Jazz Times and Down Beat.
Jonathan has performed with a wide array of artists, including Ravi Coltrane, Stephen Lehman, Ralph Alessi, Steven Bernstein, Meshell Ndegeocello, Vijay Iyer, and Abbey Lincoln. A veteran of Steve Colemans Five Elements (having joined the band at the age of 18), he has performed on five recordings to date, and maintains an active schedule with the conceptualist powerhouse saxophonista relationship of remarkable symbiosis that has developed over 8 years.
Virelles has absorbed lessons from his untrammeled childhood education that gave him unrestricted access to his grandfather's jazz music collection. Thus he became seduced at a very early age by Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk and Miles Davis. It is no wonder then that his music has grown out of a molten mix of bebop and the music of the Afro-Cuban Diaspora. To that extent there is an almost cubist conceptual dimension to Virelles' music. He appears to have arrived at such a heightened artistic awareness because he refuses to let his muse be guided by "conventional" structures and improvisational characteristics. Rather his musical concepts are organic to what he hears in his ear within his heart. The music grows out of this impulse that is tactile and not premeditated - almost like M-Base.
The son of a painter and photographer, grew up in the Pacific Northwest in the small city of Port Townsend. He began to experiment with the guitar at the age of six, and remains a primarily self- taught musician. As a teenager, he was recognized with many awards for exceptional achievements in Music and Visual Art.
Okazaki's formal studies were at Harvard University, the Manhattan School of Music, and the Juilliard School. He has pursued a variety of subjects, including Visual Arts, Literature and Language, Mathematics, and Music. He has toured and recorded with a wide variety of artists, including Stanley Turrentine, Lenny Pickett, Samir Chatterjee, Jane Monheit, Jen Shyu, Dan Weiss, David Binney, and others.
Recently, Okazaki has focused primarily on composing and studying improvisational concepts. In 2006, he recorded his debut album, Mirror, funding this project with his winnings as a finalist in the Thelonious Monk Jazz Competition. This album, called a work of sustained collectivity as well as deep intricacy by the New York Times, won a New Works grant from Chamber Music America to produce a second volume of compositions. This project became Generations, on Sunnyside Records. Currently Okazaki plays guitar for Steve Coleman and Five Elements, and is working on several new commissions, including a new ensemble work for the French-American Jazz Exchange program, music for classical guitar, and a new collection of compositions for his third album.