Live at The Village Vanguard Vol. II w/5 Elements
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Live at the Village Vanguard, Volume II (Mdw Ntr) finds alto saxophonist and MacArthur fellow Steve Coleman returning to that celebrated New York venue with his flagship band Five Elements in two sets that fully capture the group’s incendiary live experience.
Volume I of this series was described by Rolling Stone as “Downright exhilarating… Feels akin to watching the Harlem Globetrotters work their head-spinning magic on the court.” If anything, Volume II – recorded a year later in May 2018 – amps up the energy level even higher. Replacing guitarist Miles Okazaki in the band is the masterful freestyle rapper Kokayi, who brings a freewheeling, rhythmically-acute, almost tent revival aesthetic to the proceedings.
Pushed by Coleman to perform as spontaneously as possible, the result is frenetic improvisation that is constantly teetering on edge, yet somehow still retaining form and structure, an effect that is only possible because of the near-telepathic level of communication that the ensemble – Coleman, trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson, bassist Anthony Tidd, and drummer Sean Rickman – has honed through hundreds of sets played together over the decades.