Steve Coleman (alto saxophone), Kokayi (MC, vocals), Jonathan Finlayson (trumpet), Anthony Tidd (electric bass), Sean Rickman (drums)
Saxophonist Steve Coleman is a true genius who has become an inspiration for an entire Jazz generation. He was one of the first to see the possibilities that rap and DJs could bring to the renewal of this music, and thus became a master for many musicians beyond the world of Jazz. In addition, Steve Coleman has researched the African and Caribbean origins of Jazz, especially Cuban music, as could be gleaned in his collaboration with AfroCuba de Matanzas. All the groups he has formed (Metrics, The Mystic Rhythm Society, The Council of Balance) have been groundbreaking at their time, as the audience at Jazzaldia -where he performed for the first time in 1994 and will perform for the sixth time at the 57th edition of the Jazzaldia- has witnessed throughout his career.
Steve Coleman was born in Chicago in 1956. He began playing alto saxophone at the age of 14, listening to Charlie Parker records and occasionally seeing tenor Von Freeman -one of the most innovative figures in Jazz-, perform, although his first inspiration was Maceo Parker, James Brown’s saxophonist and, in fact, the first band he played in was a funk band. He soon discovered Charlie Parker and it did not take him long after that to come to the conclusion that the Chicago art scene was becoming too small for him.
Coleman moved to New York in 1978 where he worked with the big band of Thad Jones and Mel Lewis, with Sam Rivers and Cecil Taylor. He accompanied Doug Hammond, David Murray, Dave Holland, Mike Brecker and Abbey Lincoln in the recording studios. Coleman’s breakthrough, however, came in the streets where he frequently performed with trumpeter Graham Haynes; the seeds of what would evolve into Steve Coleman and Five Elements.
The group developed its musical concepts in small clubs in Harlem and Brooklyn; it involved improvisation in cyclical structures, an idea that Coleman and his friends came to call “M-Base”, which also served to give the movement its name.
Coleman’s indefatigable curiosity has led him to participate in numerous groups and projects and, at the same time, has kept Five Elements going since its inception. Steve Coleman’s music with Five Elements has been recorded on several extraordinary albums, such as The Sonic Language of Myth (1999), The Ascension to Light (2000), Alternate Dimension Series I (2002), Harvesting Semblances and Affinities (2010) and Functional Arrhythmias (2013).
Coleman’s amalgamation of vocal and musical improvisations resting on an African-influenced rhythmic base has broken new ground in creative music and placed him at the forefront of innovations in black music. His composition techniques are inspired not only by improvisation, but also by spontaneity, driven by a conception of music as a form of vibration and energy.