Steve Coleman & Five Elements

Steve Coleman & Five Elements

Thursday, April 26, 2012, Bezanson Recital Hall

The Magic Triangle Jazz Series, produced by WMUA-91.1FM and the Fine Arts Center at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, concludes its 22nd season with a performance by Steve Coleman & Five Elements.


General Admission: $12, Students $7


Alto saxophonist, composer and philosopher Steve Coleman has had a major impact on Black American music. “To me, Steve’s as important as Coltrane,” says pianist Vijay Iyer. “He has contributed an equal amount to the history of the music. He deserves to be placed in the pantheon of pioneering artists.” The group features Steve Coleman (alto saxophone) with Jonathan Finlayson (trumpet), Miles Okazaki (guitar) and  Damion Reid (drums).

A mentor and something of a pied piper, Coleman is a hugely influential figure who has aided the careers of peers like Geri Allen, Greg Osby and Cassandra Wilson, as well as nurturing the development of such important younger musicians as Vijay Iyer, Steve Lehman and Rudresh Mahanthappa. Over the past two decades, he's turned his band Five Elements into an improviser's academy, attracting a steady flow of exceptional young musicians.

Born in Chicago in 1956, Coleman moved to New York City in 1978 and has been identified with the City ever since. 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. One of the founders of the so-called M-Base movement, Coleman has led several groups and has 25 recordings under his name. 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 human existence.

A concept album inspired by the passage of time and seasonal renewal, Harvesting Semblances and Affinities (Pi, 2010) is Coleman's first widely available domestic release in almost a decade, and a persuasive reminder of his visionary artistry.

“Filled with cantilevered rhythms, intertwining melodies and oblique harmonies,” writes All About Jazz, “Harvesting Semblances and Affinities is one of the strongest albums of Coleman’s career and compelling proof of his continued importance in the development of contemporary jazz.”

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The Magic Triangle Jazz Concert Series is produced by WMUA-FM and the Fine Arts Center, and funded by the UMass Arts Council and an ECSA grant. Additional support from Amherst College and the UMass Hotel at the Campus Center.