Friday, February 15, 2013

Jeff Coffin: Serious fun

Following my recent post about losing interest in new jazz, I found a remedy: Jeff Coffin and the Mu'tet. I downloaded his recent album, "Into the Air," to prepare for an interview with him for a story about his appearance in Springfield on Feb. 23.

Throughout his career, Coffin has played in groove-based bands that celebrate monstrous solos and occasional odd meters. The album covers a wide spectrum — mostly funk, some blues, a pinch of hard-swinging mainstream — and the band is really flexible with all of this material. Best of all, there's a lot of strong playing over the grooves.

Plus a couple of slow, oozing tunes — and one with Lionel Loueke.
This approach reminds me a little of what Lester Bowie of the Art Ensemble of Chicago called "serious fun." Back in the early 90's, his Brass Fantasy was playing covers of Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and Sade that were really intricate but also entertaining.

So, there's hope.

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