Exclusive Daily Download: "My Jubilee," Anthony Coleman


Salon Staff
June 7, 2006 11:01AM (UTC)

Anthony Coleman is both one of the more intriguing composers and arrangers in the downtown New York scene (and in modern jazz and new music in general) and a striking pianist, with a Monk-like bluntness and wit. His latest release, "Shmutsige Magnaten: Coleman Plays Gebirtig," documents a recital he gave recently in a Kraków, Poland, synagogue, performing his instrumental versions of songs by Yiddish popular songwriter (and Holocaust victim) Mordecai Gebirtig. The concert was performed at midnight, just steps away from Gebirtig's birthplace, and the atmosphere and power of the event come through on the recording. Much of the pleasure of this disc is in hearing the harmonic inventiveness with which Coleman, by nature more composer than improviser, reworks these simple, haunted melodies. But he never overburdens or complicates them, and always plays with weight and dignity.

-- T.B.

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