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Def Trance Beat (Modalities of Rhythm)

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Audio CD (23 Dec. 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Bluebird
  • ASIN: B00000058A
  • Other Editions: Audio Cassette
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 232,624 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Flint
  2. Verifiable Pedagogy
  3. Dogon
  4. Multiplicity Of Approaches
  5. The Khu
  6. Pad Thai
  7. Jeannine's Sizzling
  8. Patterns Of Force
  9. The Mantra
  10. Salt Peanuts

Product Description

Steve Coleman ~ Def Trance Beat

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
a brand new cd purchase on amazon as going cheap and Coleman carries an impressive reputation for new alto led angular jazz. Well.. the problem is "Def Tranc" (from 1994) if its your first Coleman buy it certainly impresses initially with its mainly uptemmpo urban abstract snaking funk jazz and sinuous slower tracks, BUT as this is my fourth cd by Coleman, but -the m-base formula is wearing rather thin .

why ? well far too many tracks for me just follow a tried + tested similar tempo with Coleman leading proceedings with very similar sounding format, his alto sax lines have little genuine variety or interplay amongst the band. a strong melody ? apart from a couple of tracks - no. a introspective moment ? forget it. genuine startling new music ? forget it. its a little like sophisticated yet still soul-less lift music for hip urbanites.

for me - Coleman + crew do what they do very proficiently here, but just don't expect the depth , variety or originality of later era Miles, Ornette or uk player Denys Baptiste. [...] i will persevere with Coleman and try to hear his later releases in due course where i hope greater variety and experimentation reside. ok but hardly earth shattering contemporary jazz. funky, urbane, inventive yes - earth shattering, startling, clasic ? no. enjoyable intelligent urban jazz funk but i expect more from my music. 3 stars going on 4.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars 5 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Progressive Jazz Unit with deep roots 7 July 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is certainly one of the best jazz records I've heard in the past 10 years. This band just smokes through these rhythmically complex, odd metered songs with an incredible energy while remaining tempered with melody, nuance and soul. They never turn into a soullessly technical machine like so many bands intent on showing off their chops. Coleman is the most innovative and technically awesome saxophone player working in jazz today but he is also one of the best composers. And it goes without saying that he refuses to make the neo-traditinalist records everybody else is churning out.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best record from this unit 2 Mar. 2002
By Scott Woods - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Steve Coleman has played in a lot of different formations, and this one, while not my personal favorite, is a super-strong batch of cats. They're his funkiest unit by far, and they bring a great flavor to his trademark odd-timed beats and quick swing. Coleman compositions are difficult to play (and not party records), but these guys make them sing and give us a very good jazz record with new ideas.
4.0 out of 5 stars Coleman continues his exploration of intricate, interlocking rhythms, and listeners can sense his immense curiosity 24 Jan. 2015
By Christopher Culver - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Recorded in mid-1994, DEF TRANCE BEAT sees alto saxophonist Steve Coleman well into his mature period that began in the early Nineties: rhythmically complex music of dizzying virtuosity which remains, however, consistently engaging for audiences who want swing and funk. He is joined here by his band Five Elements as it was at the time: Andy Milne (piano/keyboards), Reggie Washington (bass) and Gene Lake (drums). Also making appearances are Ravi Coltrane and Craig Handy (tenor saxophones), an array of guest percussionists, and bassist Matthew Garrison.

In writing liner notes or commenting on his music in interviews, Coleman was starting to get very mystical around this time, claiming that his playing was connected to supernatural energies, unconventional cosmologies, and eldrich traditions. He had become closely linked with an astrologer, Thomas Goodwin, who claims to know the secrets of Ancient Egypt. While I think that's all flim-flam and nonsense, there's no doubt that Coleman's expanded perspective has greatly enriched his music. (In this Coleman can be compared to Per Nørgård, of whom we are both great fans, a Danish composer who took astrology and Carlos Castaneda and turned these lame inspirations into incredible music.) Ignore all his astrological woo-woo and just marvel at the intricately interlocking parts and the perfect, yet spontaneously composed, order of his music.

The album opens with "Flint", which preserves the Jerry Goldsmith film tune melodically, but sets it within a stunning rhythmic vortex. This is the first Coleman record where drummer Gene Lake gets to really shine. "Verifiable Pedagogy" is a calmer, more traditional tune, and "Salt Peanuts" is the well-known standard. "Jeannie's Sizzling" combines a Cannonball Adderley tune with Five Elements' own "Fire Revisited" (previously heard on the album On the Edge of Tomorrow while Coleman was still finding his way). "The Mantra" has a fun opening, where the musicians first chant the beat before beginning to elaborate on it, and Reggie Washington's baseline there is one of his sleekest.

I'm very impressed by the artistry and the richness of these tunes, and I'd recommend DEF TRANCE BEAT. However, this doesn't rank among Coleman's very best for a couple of reasons. One is the Andy Milne was a bad match for Coleman's innovative stylings, and whenever he solos I feel like he's moving the music back into conventional 1950s/60s bop territory. Furthermore, Milne's composition "Patterns of Force" is a limp moment here, though Coleman's solo saves it a bit. Also, Coleman cuts off a track suddenly, an edit he had done many times before, but which I feel is somewhat dishonest: you can't judge a composition and performance if you can't hear it through to the end.

Still, I discovered Coleman's music through his visionary later albums, and in going back to explore his output chronologically I find the earliest releases problematic, with DEF TRANCE BEAT I feel like we've come to the good stuff.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting odd time funk grooves in an improvisational format. 29 Mar. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This CD is an excellent introduction to Steve Coleman's musical brew. If you enjoy heavily percussive jazz with fun drumming; then this CD is for you. Gene Lake is outstanding as well as Steve, Reggie and everyone else. I recommend all of Steve's albums especially if you are a drummer, percussionist, or a contemporary progressive Jazz fan. Two Sticks Up!
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Progressive Jazz Unit with deep roots 7 July 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is certainly one of the best jazz records I've heard in the past 10 years. This band just smokes through these rhythmically complex, odd metered songs with an incredible energy while remaining tempered with melody, nuance and soul. They never turn into a soullessly technical machine like so many bands intent on showing off their chops. Coleman is the most innovative and technically awesome saxophone player working in jazz today but he is also one of the best composers. And it goes without saying that he refuses to make the neo-traditinalist records everybody else is churning out.
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