Tag Archives: Steve Coleman

Pi Recordings: A Home For Musicians Pushing Jazz Forward

Pi Recordings

Pi Recordings’s Seth Rosner and Yulun Wang will never forget the day they called Henry Threadgill to tell him he had won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Music; he was only the third jazz artist to do so.

“We were so excited, we were tripping over each other trying to tell him about it,” laughs Wang. “And Henry was getting madder and madder, because he had no idea what we were talking about!”

Once all became clear, the mood was jubilant. “He’s really trying to invent his own musical language,” says Rosner of the master composer, saxophonist, and flutist. “For the Pulitzer people to finally recognize him for tackling this challenge—it’s definitely one of the prouder moments of my life.”

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The Best Jazz on Bandcamp: August 2018


Two is a lucky number in this month’s column. We’ve got multiple duet recordings, two albums with double trios, another that’s a double-disc, and one musician who appears on two different recommendations. But, y’know, we’ve got music for people who like other numbers, too.

View the Best Jazz on Bandcamp archives.

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The Best Jazz on Bandcamp: June 2017


Illustration by Clay Hickson

“Jazz doesn’t sound like jazz anymore.” That’s the criticism most often leveled at the modern jazz scene. It’s also the reason why the scene is as exciting as it’s ever been. Every day, a new album hits the shelves that takes a shared language in new directions, creating combinations of sounds never previously given voice. Still, that criticism isn’t entirely accurate: Traditional jazz is still there, it’s just hidden beneath tempos that sometimes choose not to swing, and melodic development that’s a little different from what you might hear at NYC’s Village Vanguard. You’ve just got to listen closely for it. Here are 10 new releases that proudly straddle the old and new sounds of jazz.

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Steve Coleman Doesn’t Improvise, He Spontaneously Composes

Steve Coleman

If Barack Obama spoke in paragraphs, as was often said, then Steve Coleman speaks in philosophical treatises—long ones. “My middle name is Tangent,” the alto-saxophonist and MacArthur fellow said at one point in our conversation (which, here, has been heavily edited from more than an hour of dialogue). But it’s only because Coleman is full of ideas. His body of music, which now spans over 30 years, is elaborate, layered, and draws on a deep reservoir of influences, from human biology to Asian mysticism.

Even by his own standards, Coleman’s new album, Morphogenesis, is incredibly dense. It combines jazz improvisation (including members of his primary improvising ensemble) with written arrangements for chamber musicians, including violin and clarinet. We spoke to Coleman about his creative processes, the tension between readers and improvisers, and the role of the audience in developing music.

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