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BRANDON COLEMAN TRIO - "PHOBOS"
The origin of Mars' satellites Phobos and Deimos is still up for debate. Their odd shapes seems as though they were small asteroids captured by the Red Planet's orbit.
Much like the moon of it's namesake, "Phobos" is an oddly shaped tune, with loping 3-measure phrases interlaced with melodic gestures that reset the rhythmic gravity.
Matt Wiles brings a singing quality out of his bass with his bow work and supremely melodic solo. Jeff Mellott with his sensitive use of cymbal scrapes and brushes simulates the smash and scatteration of interstellar debris.
"Phobos" is a true space ballad.
I tried to record and mix this in the style of some of my favorite ECM Records recordings.
BRANDON COLEMAN QUARTET - "THE WATCHMAKER"
"The Watchmaker" is a new single I recorded with the latest incarnation of my quartet: Ben Tweedt on keyboards, Matt Wiles on bass, and Jeff Mellott on drums. I even get to play a little Mellotron on this one!
Musicians have a very interesting relationship to time. We are required to master internalizing and sensing it, and also work towards being able to manipulate it at will. With every subdivision we create another chasm which can be divided further into infinity. Can time really be measured? This subject fascinates me. Hence, "The Watchmaker".
BRANDON COLEMAN QUARTET - "AQUATIC"
"Aquatic" is a single I recorded with the latest incarnation of my quartet: Ben Tweedt on keyboards, Matt Wiles on bass, and Jeff Mellott on drums.
I've always been drawn to water, whether it's the creeks and streams of my childhood, intensely crashing ocean waves, or a majestic waterfall. I suppose the artistic connection in how water is unified even though the fluid motion is seemingly random/Brownian in nature. I try to achieve a similar 'unity' in improvised music when performing with my band.
BRANDON COLEMAN QUARTET - "INFINITE LOOP"
"There's something for everyone—every jazz fan, that is—on this fine sophomore outing from Cincinnati, Ohio-based guitarist and composer Brandon Coleman. He's made quite a name for himself in the Midwest, having played at many respected venues and presented Master classes at universities throughout North America. On this date, he's joined by pianist Keigo Hirakawa, bassist Matt Wiles, and drummer Jeff Mellott, but in addition to his own quartet and trio Coleman plays in saxophonist Randy Villars' group and the Cleveland/NYC-based Sam Blakeslee Quintet. Coleman gets around, in other words, and his versatility, compositional acumen, and technical prowess are well-represented by the nine originals and cover on the new collection. Throughout the release, he plays with a fluidity and intelligence that suggests a long and satisfying career lies ahead.
The playing's impressive, but Infinite Loop is also distinguished by stylistic diversity: there's jazz in a semi-traditional vein but also forays into contemporary classical and jazz-rock. “Hoopwood” begins the album on a strong note with a breezy, uptempo number that's a veritable sales pitch for the guitarist's music. With Mellott providing a powerful backbone, Coleman leads the way with an intricate series of patterns that the others smoothly lock onto. Solo spots are politely shared, Wiles and Hirakawa taking lengthy turns before the guitarist steps in with his own exploration, until the bright theme returns to point the way home. Switching gears noticeably, “I Fell” finds the quartet strutting in blues-bop mode with Coleman this time opting for a smooth, distortion-free tone emblematic of classic jazz guitar and Hirakawa channeling Lennie Tristano in the oblique geometrics of his lengthy solo. “Morphic Gate” and “Orb” hint at Coleman's experimental leanings in solo vignettes that suggest he'd be capable of tackling an ambient guitar project were he so inclined, after which “Bathynerita” gives his heavier side a workout, especially when the music swells to ferocious proportions as it nears its end. If a subtle echo of Jeff Beck's “Diamond Dust” wafts through the key changes and melodic progressions of “A Key” (its first half, specifically), Coleman's never so derivative he comes off as a copycat.
Jerome Kern's “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” might be a chestnut of sorts, but there's no denying the quartet's sensitive handling of the piece; further to that, the performance provides an instructive example of the care with which Coleman composes a solo. More adventurous by comparison is the title track, which casts aside conventional notions of harmony and song structure for a free-wheeling, improv-styled exercise, and the brief closer “Engram,” which sees Coleman working within a twenty-four-tone octave. Depending on the sensibility in question, certain parts of the recording will likely have stronger appeal than others. There's no denying the musicianship of the performances, however, and Coleman certainly distinguishes himself as a player and composer of considerable ability."