Steve Coleman and Five Elements is the primary group of American saxophonist Steve coleman. 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 ( mostly with Five Elements ) and has recorded extensively. Initiall...
Steve Coleman and Five Elements is the primary group of American saxophonist Steve coleman.
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 ( mostly with Five Elements ) 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, 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.
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. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.