|Photo: Milo Bosh|
In 2018, Pi released "Live at the Village Vanguard Volume I: the Embedded Sets", and two-CD set recorded in May of 2017. That album featured a fifth Fifth Element, guitarist Miles Okazaki. 12 months later, the band returned to the Vanguard with the spoken word genius Kokayi in the place of the guitar. 11 songs from that three-night stay can now be heard on Coleman's seventh album for the label "Live at the Village Vanguard Volume II (Mdw Ntr)". The combination of the vocals and instrumental voices is, at times, astonishing as Kokayi is right on the rhythm, interacting with Coleman and Finlayson's melody lines, Tidd's thunderous yet melodic bass lines, and Rickman's powerful, conversational, drums. Coleman's alto leads the way but everybody's voice is heard. Finlayson has developed into an excellent front-line partner; whether the piece is totally improvised (such as disc #1's "Unit Fractions" or Bunky Green's "Little Girl I'll Miss You"), the trumpeter builds delightful solos off of the leader's rapid-fire solo phrases. Another highlight of the Green piece is Kokayi's interaction with the leader's alto.
Happily, there's no let up on disc 2. In fact, "Rumble Young Man, Rumble" may be the best cut on the entire album. Not only is the rapid-fire groove irresistible but Kokayi's lyrics have moments of sheer hilarity (something to do with "bichon frieses in the jungle with labradoodles") as well as social commentary about how dangerous walking the streets is for young Black men as well as the description of a boxing match. All the while, Rickman is a thundering presence; like rush hour in downtown Manhattan, there's no escaping his presence. (Notice how Coleman uses the repeated 12-note phrase of the song as the opening salvo of "Khet & Kaba" and variations of the same for the melody).
For more information, go to https://m-base.com/. To hear more and to purchase the album, go to https://stevecoleman.bandcamp.com/album/live-at-the-village-vanguard-volume-ii-mdw-ntr.
Here's the afore-mentioned "Rumble Young Man, Rumble":
For more information, go to www.akamu.net/shipp.htm. To purchase the album, go to