LIVE: The Jeff Coffin Mu’tet @ the Massry Center, 3/20/11
Jeff Coffin’s Mu’tet isn’t your average jazz quintet. In fact, for those who have a fixed idea of what “jazz” is, Coffin and his bandmates don’t really play jazz in any traditional sense. What they play is certainly in the lineage of jazz music’s history, but it’s not derived from the ’50s bop of Charlie Parker or the ’60’s experimentation of John Coltrane.
The music that saxman Coffin and his Mu’tet offered up in their recent Nippertown debut owed a little to ’70s-era Miles Davis and a lot to the ’80s funked up and rocking jazz of the Brecker Brothers’ “Heavy Metal Be Bop” – sans the screaming electric guitars. And considering Coffin’s stint with Bela Fleck’s Flecktones, it’s no surprise that there was also a healthy dose of the Grateful Dead’s ventures into space-rock, ala “Infrared Roses” with saxophonist Branford Marsalis on board.
Add to this that Coffin’s main gig these days is with the Dave Matthews Band (which has taken a quasi sabbatical from touring in 2011), and it all makes perfect sense why the College of Saint Rose’s Massry Center was filled to the rafters with some great, jam-laden, space-jazz funk.
Joining Coffin on stage were trumpet master Bill Fanning, dynamic drummer Jeff Sipe, fabulous electric bassist Felix Pastorius (Jaco’s son and living proof that the apple never falls far from the tree) and keyboardist-flutist Kofi Burbridge, best known from his tenure with the Derek Trucks Band.
With three Grammys back home and a leave of absence from the DMB, Jeff Coffin and his Mu’tet are carving out their own path. And judging by their performance at the Massry – which ended with an intense and wailing encore of “The Mad Hatter Rides Again” from Coffin’s 2005 album, “Bloom” – they’re doing just fine on their own.
Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk
Rudy Lu’s review at AlbanyJazz.com
Rudy Lu’s photographs at AlbanyJazz.com
Josh Potter’s review at Metroland
J Hunter’s review at State of Mind
Leigh Ward’s photographs at The Saint Rose Chronicle