Invisible Paths: First Scattering

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
For a musician as engaged with the history, lineage, and future possibilities of jazz, it's rather remarkable that composer, saxophonist, and bandleader Steve Coleman hasn't recorded a solo album before now. Better later than never. In his liner notes, Coleman states: "As always my concern was to create music that would express my total range of beliefs regarding the universe and our relationship to it. The resulting music would be a sonic commentary or expression of Nature and Life....I realized that these musical ideas would in some ways have more clarity than my work within an ensemble, and in other ways be more obscure....I realized that the forms that lie at the basis ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
For a musician as engaged with the history, lineage, and future possibilities of jazz, it's rather remarkable that composer, saxophonist, and bandleader Steve Coleman hasn't recorded a solo album before now. Better later than never. In his liner notes, Coleman states: "As always my concern was to create music that would express my total range of beliefs regarding the universe and our relationship to it. The resulting music would be a sonic commentary or expression of Nature and Life....I realized that these musical ideas would in some ways have more clarity than my work within an ensemble, and in other ways be more obscure....I realized that the forms that lie at the basis of the sounded music would normally not be able to be perceived." This is not so pretentious: painter Mark Rothko held views very similar to this, resulting in his own singular method of painting that used few colors and shapes, but communicated and invoked strong, even universal emotions in the viewer that would not and could not come into play in more conventionally image-based work. Coleman also regards the possibility of new meanings and invisible paths that can and do come into play when the articulated sounds of the music engage the imagination of the listener, creating a third entity that comprises both -- hence a new meaning. Add to this his eternal sense of cyclical time that comes from Hindu, Buddhist, and Taoist traditions, and what one has is indeed a sonic universe, both infinitesimally small and inconceivably large. This is wonderfully ambitious for a solo saxophone recording, but there is great merit in his thinking, especially as it translates to the music at hand. In fact, this set has more in common with Lee Konitz's Lone-Lee album without the multi-tracking than it does with, say, Anthony Braxton's solo saxophone improvisational recordings. Coleman uses a keen sense of how to fill aural space, with a deep knowledge and use of a mostly Western harmonic language that allows the listener inside his sound world. In fact, it readily invites you in. These 16 pieces take just over 70 minutes to complete, and use mostly conventional notions of melody to poetically weave their way through the jazz tradition -- and yes, he does that by using the lineage in these pieces, evoking Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Ben Webster, Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Anthony Braxton, and contemporaries like Greg Osby and Don Byron -- while offering new notions of song. These pieces, which range from just over two minutes to seven and a half with many points in between, more often than not turn on themselves, returning to a theme that offers itself as a first step and as a return to hear what has changed in the interval between. Not merely scalar exercises, these pieces, all of them inseparable from one another by their very placement in both sequence and the evolution in the sound they offer, are parts of an extended meditation on a pulsing, growing universe, perhaps inconceivable to the listener's imagination before hearing these ideas as "sung" in a more conservative sense. Coleman also extends the language of the horn, and offers something new in the way of way solo recordings. In fact, Invisible Paths: First Scattering is not the revelation of what he has learned as a musician so much as what he perceives may be possible since he is one. Hosting Coleman's recording is a coup both for the artist and for Tzadik, which hasn't, for all of its forward thinking and radical reinvention of many musical languages, ever hosted a recording quite like this one before, so inside a jazz tradition that is regenerative and creates newness because of its past rather than in spite of it. This is Steve Coleman as you have never heard him before; with every note here, he communicates in improvisational song how necessary he is to the continued evolution of jazz in particular and to 21st century music in general. Invisible Paths was worth waiting 22 years for.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/31/2007
  • Label: Tzadik
  • UPC: 702397762126
  • Catalog Number: 7621
  • Sales rank: 99,950

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Steve Coleman Primary Artist, Alto Saxophone
Technical Credits
Steve Coleman Composer, Producer, Liner Notes, Cover Design, Audio Production
Joe Marciano Engineer
John Zorn Executive Producer
Scott Hull Mastering
Patrícia Magalhães Poetry, Cover Design
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