Into the Air
Give saxophonist Jeff Coffin credit for truth in advertising, since his Mu’tet band has mutated again. Into the Air, like its 2008 studio predecessor, Mutopia, features keyboardist/flutist Kofi Burbridge and bassist Felix Pastorius, son of Jaco. But Coffin has turned his stellar quartet into an even better quintet by adding trumpeter Bill Fanning and changing drummers from former Flecktones bandmate Futureman to Jeff Sipe.
The opening “A Half Sleep” is a repetitive, New Orleans-tinged gospel dirge that highlights Coffin’s tenor work, Fanning’s muted trumpet and the Pastorius family tradition of nimble bass figures. The 30-year-old bassist co-wrote the experimental, effects-heavy “U Don’t Say,” plus “Backin’ Up” and “Loueke,” an inside-out rhythmic dance
with guest guitarist Lionel Loueke.
Three tracks were co-composed by the ensemble. “Lucky 13,” named for its time signature, also features Loueke and percolates through the rhythm section’s impeccable drive. Coffin plays tenor and soprano saxes on “Low Spark,” teaming with Fanning’s trumpet and flugelhorn and Burbridge’s flute to create Arabic imagery, and “8 Bit Goggles” is a Sipe showcase. The drummer dissects Coffin and Fanning’s strutting boogaloo lines, Burbridge’s Wurlitzer atmospherics and Pastorius’ liquid playing with rim shots, hi-hat accents, double-time cadences and fiery fills.