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Coleman, Steve and Five Elements: Harvesting Semblances and Affinities (Pi Recordings)

Saxophonist Coleman's 1st US label release in 9 years, 6 original compositions of complex, constantly shifting rhythms that convey a fundamental sense of groove from his 6 piece band.

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product information:


Label: Pi Recordings
Catalog ID: PI 33
Squidco Product Code: 13064

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2010
Country: USA
Packaging: Digipack - 3 panel
Recorded, mixed and mastered at Systems Two, Brooklyn, NY: tracks 1-4, 6-7 on October 19, 2006; track 5 on February 23, 2007 by Joseph Marciano.


Steve Coleman-alto saxophone

Jonathan Finlayson-trumpet

Tim Albright-trombone

Jen Shyu-vocals

Thomas Morgan-bass

Tyshawn Sorey-drums (all tracks)

Marcus Gilmore-drums (track 5)

Ramon Garcia Perez-percussion (track 5)

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track listing:

1. Attila 02 (Drawing Ritual) 8:34

2. Beba 5:44

3. Clouds 7:27

4. 060706-2319 (Middle of Water) 14:06

5. Flo Ut Rosa Floruit 6:49

6. Attila 04 3:34

7. Vernal Equinox 040320-0149 (Initiation) 6:43
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descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Pi Recordings is proud to welcome the influential alto saxophonist and composer Steve Coleman to the label with Harvesting Semblances and Affinities, his first release on an American label in nine years and his first new release in almost four years. Coleman was the key proponent of M-Base, which has done its part to push modern jazz to ever greater levels of rhythmic and compositional complexity. Many of his early collaborators in that movement, such as Greg Osby, Cassandra Wilson, Geri Allen, Marvin "Smitty" Smith and Robin Eubanks have gone on to great acclaim. His influence can also be found in a whole generation of younger jazz artists, including musicians on Pi like Vijay Iyer, Rudresh Mahanthappa, and Steve Lehman.

Coleman's music, based on a lifetime of travel and research into the music of the African diaspora - jazz, blues, Cuban, funk, R&B, hip hop, African, Brazilian, along with Indian and Indonesian - defy easy definition. Much of his work is distinguished by its complex, constantly shifting rhythms that convey a fundamental sense of groove. This effect is not just carried out by the rhythm section; it is also found in the intertwining horns lines that weave a pattern of contrapuntal polyphony. Coleman's compositions are made up of many layers, all constantly mutating, coming and going without simple resolution.

All of the compositions on Harvesting Semblances and Affinities are originals, except for Flos Ut Rosa Floruit, with a medieval Latin spiritual text, which was composed by the renowned Danish composer Per Nørgård. Some of the material is inspired by the work of Ramon Llull, a Majorcan mystical philosopher who worked with combinations of symbols representing universal truths, based on intuitive insight and observation of nature. Like Llull, Coleman is a true polymath, and his music has long been influenced by his study of physics, astronomy, numerology and patterns found in nature. He had been working on a musical version of this approach for some time, but was able to further develop this concept during his month-long curatorial residency in 2006 at The Stone, the New York performance space. The music on this release is the direct result of those explorations.

Harvesting Semblances and Affinities features Coleman's band Five Elements, a shifting group of musicians, many of whom have worked with Coleman for years. The band features Coleman on alto sax, Jonathan Finlayson on trumpet, Tim Albright on trombone, Thomas Morgan on bass, Tyshawn Sorey on drums and Jen Shyu on vocals. Completely defying the traditional role of jazz singing, Coleman puts Shyu's voice right into the front-line mix, demanding the rhythmic incisiveness and tonal clarity of a horn. Her vocals - with its precise and beautifully nuanced articulation - bring an emotional element to this complex and cutting-edge music while pushing the possibilities of jazz singing into new territory."-Pi Recording

Artist Biographies:

"Jonathan Finlayson has been recognized by the New York Times as " incisive and often surprising trumpeter," who is "...fascinated with composition." Born in 1982 in Berkeley, CA, Finlayson began playing the trumpet at the age of ten in the Oakland public school system. He came under the tutelage of Bay Area legend Robert Porter, a veteran trumpeter from the bebop era who took Finlayson under his wing; he was often seen accompanying Porter on his gigs about town and sitting in on the popular Sunday nights jam session at the Bird Cage. He subsequently attended the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music where he studied with Eddie Henderson, Jimmy Owens and Cecil Bridgewater.

Finlayson is a disciple of the saxophonist/composer/conceptualist Steve Coleman, having joined his band Five Elements in 2000 at the age of 18. He is widely admired for his ability to tackle cutting-edge musical concepts with aplomb. Finlayson has performed and recorded in groups led by Steve Lehman, Mary Halvorson, Craig Taborn, Henry Threadgill and played alongside notables such as Von Freeman, Jason Moran, Dafnis Prieto and Vijay Iyer."

-Jonathan Finlayson Website (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Thomas Morgan (born 14 August 1981 in Hayward, California) is an American jazz musician (upright bass, cello) in contemporary jazz.

Morgan began playing the cello 7 years of age, before switching to upright-bass at 14. In 2003 he received his bachelor's degree in Music from the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Harvie Swartz and Garry Diall. He also took lessons with Ray Brown and Peter Herbert. Morgan worked with David Binney, Steve Coleman, Joey Baron, Josh Roseman, Brad Shepik, Steve Cardenas, Timućin ahin, Kenny Wollesen, Gerald Cleaver, Adam Rogers and Kenny Werner throughout his career. He is also cooperating with Jakob Bro, Dan Tepfer, Jim Black, John Abercrombie, Masabumi Kikuchi and the Sylvie Courvoisier-Mark Feldman Quartet. Morgan lead his own trio."

-Wikipedia (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Tyshawn Sorey (born July 8, 1980 in Newark, New Jersey) is an American musician and composer who plays drum set, percussion, trombone and piano.

Since graduating from William Paterson University, Sorey has been a sought-after musician in many different musical idioms. He is both a performer and composer, and has had works reviewed in The Wire, The New York Times, The Village Voice, Modern Drummer and Down Beat. In August 2009, Sorey was given the opportunity to curate a month of performances at the Stone, a New York performance space owned by John Zorn. He was selected as an Other Minds 17 (2012).

Sorey recently completed a Master of Arts in composition at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. In the fall of 2011, he began pursuing doctoral work in composition at Columbia University.

To date, Sorey has released four albums as a leader: That/Not (2007, Firehouse 12 Records), Koan (2009, 482 Music), Oblique (2011, Pi Recordings) and Alloy (2014, Pi Recordings). He has recorded or performed with musicians including Wadada Leo Smith, Steve Coleman, Anthony Braxton, John Zorn, Steve Lehman, Joey Baron, Muhal Richard Abrams, Pete Robbins, Vijay Iyer, Dave Douglas, Butch Morris and Sylvie Courvoisier, among many others."

-Wikipedia (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

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