Saxophonist Steve Coleman, whose quintet performed last Sunday at SFJazz in San Francisco, was honored recently with a MacArthur Fellow, an award presented to talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction.
The fellowship included a stipend of $625,000, paid out in equal quarterly installments over five years.
Coleman is one of the most influential musicians and composers on the modern day music scene. His technical virtuosity and engagement with musical traditions and styles from around the world are expanding the expressive and formal possibilities of spontaneous composition.
His “genie (us)” came out of the bottle when he performed at SFJazz with his group, Five Elements. Coleman delivered his signature performance of intricate and complex improvised pieces. His original compositions were masterful.
He displayed his magnificent range of musical innovation and perspective, which have elevated him to being heir-apparent to the late John Coltrane’s legacy.
His group included Jonathan Finlayson, trumpet, Miles Okazaki, guitar, Anthony Tidd, bassist, and Sean Rickman, drums.
Finlayson is an Oakland native who moved to New York to attend The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music. He is an active voice in the New York creative music scene. Finlayson was voted #1 Rising Star Trumpet player in the 62nd Annual Downbeat Writers Poll.
Jazz aficionado Gloria Williams said about Coleman, “His musical talent is magnified by the supportive environment for musical experimentation and original performance he provides for our younger musicians.”
Information on Steve Coleman can be found on www.m-base net.