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Jeff Coffin Mu’tet: Mutopia

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When saxophonist Jeff Coffin joined Béla Fleck & the Flecktones in 1997, he righted their ship. That quartet had released three stellar CDs during 1990-1992, but when original keyboardist/harmonica player Howard Levy left, a void was created. The remaining trio of Fleck (banjo), Victor Wooten (bass) and Futureman (drum synthesizer) drifted before Coffin contributed to Grammy-winning comebacks from Outbound (2000) to The Hidden Land (2006).

Like all Flecktones, Coffin is better suited within that ace improvising quartet than on his own, yet two new solo projects point out his versatility. Coffin’s latest self-titled Mu’tet release improves upon his handful of preceding solo CDs, mainly because of his surrounding, interactive cast. Arc of the Circle, with keyboardist Charlie Peacock, is its polar opposite, an improvisational blend of modern classical and ECM-like influences.

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