Steve Coleman and Five Elements
Quasimodo Club, Berlin. Germany.Personnel :
Steve Coleman : as
Anthony Tid : elb
Sean Rickman : dms
Anga Diaz : perc
Rosangela Sylvestre : dance
Reggie Washington : Vcls and elbAudio infos :
Soundboard recording from K7.
Hissy and with a little distortion.
Mix: Sax in the front / kick drum in front of the drums mix.
Overall audio quality: A
2. Law of Balance
4. The Law
5. Kaballah / Neutral Zone
6. Rhythm People
7. Little Girl I miss you / The Streets
8. Fire Theme
9. Night Breed
One of the few available performances of this Fall 1998 Five Elements tour.
Being the 8th concert of this tour and after having spent 2 days with no gigs prior to this one, we could expect the band started to feel at ease with the music and the setting.
The First notes heard on the tape are from Anthony Tidd’s electric bass, playing some kind of percussive chords. Soon to be followed by Anga diaz on congas, the two of them will set the pace for an intriguing improvisation.
Around the 2 minutes mark Tidd’s will initiate the bass riff the group will develop upon. The solo he is playing is very typical of his playing, exchanging chords and solo notes but always rooted on the riff.
Sean Rickman is then to be heard beginning softly to accommodate himself to the pattern and then Steve sax could be heard very softly and probably away from the microphone.
Tidd and Steve will then play the riff together searching for harmonical changes and when Tidd switch to slap bass Steve then enter the song with some long melodic lines coming back to the riff and building the improve on it.
Anga stayed quiet all along the beginning of the song and Sean is comin more and more to the front as the congas are keeping the rhythm.
On several occasions Steve is heard shoutin to himself and eventually giving some musical indication to the group (08.35).
Then a second part of sax solo has started and the musical tense is becoming thicker and thicker. Notes are now flowing with a lot more precision and Steve goes away from the main riff more often, but always coming back to it to re launch the group.
Sean is now going away from the main rhythm and support Steve with some wonderful licks. After a little more than 14 minutes, Steve play the Law of Balance introduction riff and the group quickly shift to the new rhythm with Anga in the front now.
Tempo is a little bit faster than usual and we can hear the group struggling to get the groove, Steve then sing the riff to the musicians and they re group to further develop the song.
Sax solo has started with some small melodic lines and some quick burst of notes and Steve is now playing with the sounds of the instrument, going from mid to low register to high pitched notes.
The groove is now set and the Rick is playing I strong coordination with the bass, playing around the bass riff in fact. On some occasion Sean is doubling the time signature with some kick drums crazyness !
At around 6.30 minutes in the song the interplay between Steve and the drummer goes one step beyond as they are sharing some solos. After this the song is now tighter and Steve goes in some “distortion” mode before quickly returning to the melodic line and playing the clavé with his sax.
The group is now only the rhythmic musicians and we can guess Rosangela is giving some nice dancing figures in interplay with Anga Diaz’s congas. He starts his solos at around 12.00 in the song and his skills are no mistery to anyone who has seen him play live. The short solo is soon to be followed by Sean who is always a great musician to see perform. Strong solo with the usual double kick drum festival and some fancy drums rolling chant.
During the whole solo Tidd has been very tight and the tempo has level up a bit when Steve returns with some insight of the Pi song. For around 3 minutes they play with the introductory notes of this song which has always been a favourite of mine, especially when played at a high tempo.
On some occasion Tidd goes to the complete Pi notes but Steve like to keep the melodic lines on thoses first notes, eventually building a small chorus on it.
After 20 minutes, Law of Balance suddenly moves to Pi after 35 minutes of mid tempo, the group is taking the song at a fairly high tempo and the song provide some enthusiastic rhythm section play.
In the beginning of his solo Steve seems to be a bit distracted by something and he says some words now and then until he goes in to some very good impro, incorporating some notes from the previous song. Notes are flowin away from the instrument with great dexterity and he likes to play with the drums chant and some strong energy is being released from his sax. The solo is over and immediately Sean is takin over with some technical high speed solo, the audience and Steve himself are shoutin at Sean’s wonderful Solo. With a mix of double tempo and some funky figures he sets the house on fire and when Steve return he plays a few solo lines before playing the theme.
The abrupt end of the song brought some strong applause from the audience. It seems the concert has now really begun.
The next song has a fade in intro, probably because the 45 minutes mark of the K7 has been reached, and we could hear “The Law” when Steve is already soloing on top of it.
At around 1.30 minute into the song Steve plays some riff from another song and eventually he plays the “Flint” melody on top of “The Law” bass line.
The pace is now very quiet with Sean only playing the minimum on his cymbals mainly. Little by little the group has disappeared and Steve has to play the bass riff for Tidd to come back with him.
On a few occasion the sound suffer from a strong hiss, which is sad because Steve is playing some wonderful quiet notes.
After he plays some melodic line to Tidd who eventually play those bass line and then the group switch to some improv on this lines. Then all of a sudden Steve switch to “Kaballah” probably not satisfied by the group grasp at the previous impro. The bass line is not Sure and Steve is playing the riff back on a few occasion to remind everybody of the rhyhthm figure. He then plays “Neutral Zone” on top of “Kaballah” and he asks for Reggie Washington to come sing with him the melody.
They finish the song with the vocal lines and the Steve introduce the band to the audience.
The next song is introduced by Steve and this is “Rhythm People”, an old song from Steve repertoire and always a good way to show off his Funky vision of things!
Behind the soloist, Anga and Sean are definitely taking the song to some hypnotic groove and when Steve stops soloing the bass solo playing reminds me a lot of Reggie Washington, so I assume he took Anthony Tidd’s bass for the song, giving a short bass solo focusing on rhythm instead of melody.
After the groovy pace Steve plays “Little Girl I miss you” melody and after a couple of minutes plays the riff to “The Streets” as a rhythmic bass line.
The ballad shows Steve playing and after some 10 minutes, he plays the “Fire theme” melody and everybody catch the riffs quickly and the song develop into a funky tune and gives Anga the occasion to display his great solo skills for around 6 minutes.
The audience is very receptive to his solo and when Steve took the microphone to speed up the tempo, they seems to like the idea a lot.
Steve solo starts with some long melodic lines then we hear some lyricist takin the microphone and he starts singin and gives the whole group some strong energy. He then let Steve solos and the groove is absolutely wonderful, Steve plays some unusual high pitched notes and then took the vocal mic to sing some rhythm chant and then the song comes to a halt..wow…impressive jam.
The tape starts when the group is already playing “Night Breed” which is based upon “Cinema Saga” and the groove is still there. Slaping the bass Anthony Tidd’s groove is driving the group. After 1 minute of sax solo Steve switch to vocal, singing some drum chant in interplay with Anga and Sean with the bass very present. Steve asks Sean to sing with him the Neutral Zone melody and they starts to have fun!
Tidd is heard singin his infamous “WAZAA” break and then the sax and drummer sings the melody once again on a different tempo before closing the song.
The next song is “Wheel of Nature” which will be featured on almost every concert after Steve took his sabbatical year.
To be continued....Work in progress