Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Steve Coleman and Five Elements: The Mancy of Sound

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

The Mancy of Sound is the second recording from the new edition of alto saxophonist Steve Coleman’s Five Elements, an octet that features trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson, trombonist Tim Albright, vocalist Jen Shyu, bassist Thomas Morgan, drummers Tyshawn Sorey and Marcus Gilmore, and percussionist Ramon Garcia Perez. As complex and mathematical as last year’s Harvesting Semblances and Affinities, The Mancy of Sound is in the end less accessible.

One could build a graduate-level course around this record’s inspirations, which include lunar phases, the natural elements and Yoruban philosophy. The album jacket’s carefully designed art references all of this. But ultimately the music must be judged on its own merits: Is it compelling? Does it elicit an emotional response? Is it pleasurable? If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” then it doesn’t matter if it was inspired by the periodic chart or a scene in Killer Klowns From Outer Space.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published