Steve Coleman

Stephen "Steve" Coleman ( born September 20, 1956 in Chicago, Illinois) is an American jazz musician, saxophonist, bandleader and composer.

Origin, influences, activities

Steve Coleman grew in the South Side of Chicago in an African-American environment on, in which music played an important everyday role. He first sang a little in the Church and in the then current small groups, " The Jackson 5 " imitated the, and began playing alto saxophone at age 14. At the age of 17, 18 years his interest in music was very serious. His efforts to learn to improvise, led him to Charlie Parker's music that constantly heard his father and received a significant importance for its further development, further also to the music of Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane and others. - Among the musicians with whom he had personal contact, have him in the early days especially affected: By Freeman in terms of improvisation, Sam Rivers in terms of composition and Doug Hammond in terms of conceptual understanding. Also West African music sent to him early substantial importance.

End of the 70s Steve Coleman moved to New York. He was soon hired by a number of well known band leaders, such as Thad Jones and Mel Lewis, Sam Rivers, Cecil Taylor, David Murray, Doug Hammond and Dave Holland. However, a large part of his first time in New York was spent to earn in a street band that he had put together with trumpeter Graham Haynes, a little money. This group was the first " Steve Coleman and Five Elements " band, in which he then developed his improvisational manner and were placed in the foundations of the propagated by Coleman M-Base concept.

Since the 80s, Steve Coleman worked intensively with the world view of ancient civilizations, especially with the ancient Egyptian. He was encouraged in his own words by studying the music of John Coltrane. To the still existing today, know each other better with the ancient cultures closely related musical forms, he made ​​numerous trips to Ghana, Cuba, Senegal, Egypt, India, Indonesia and Brazil.

In 1985 Steve Coleman recorded his first CD as a leader in the German label JMT and since then has a several times altered core occupation and many changing other musicians a number of very different recordings made ​​( in the 90s with the big company RCA / BMG since 2001, the small French company label Bleu ). Commercially obsolete CDs Steve Coleman makes as free downloads available on its website. The CD "Alternate Dimension Series I" he has provided only on a non-commercial way across the Internet.

As a bandleader, he integrates the creativity of the individual musicians in his concepts and develops the other hand, the music matched to the personal stylistics of his teammates. In the 90 years he developed with the help of programmers in the Paris Research Center for Computer Music IRCAM an improvising computer program, which was then used as a " band member " during a performance of the Coleman Group on 11 June 1999 in Paris.

Coleman has repeatedly served as Head of workshops and as a teacher (including 2000-2002 as a visiting professor at the University Of California Berkeley ).


The intensity and complexity of the music of Steve Coleman, its independence, the ongoing development and expansion require a wide range of different, even contradictory reviews by listeners, musicians and critics. Coleman's improvisational game acts virtuously and cool, which is encouraged. Due to a clear and streamlined tone production on the saxophone and an elegant, highly mobile lines The clarinetist Don Byron, Steve Coleman designated as "exceptional figure in American music history." The pianist Vijay Iyer said in 2010: " In my eyes, Steve [ Coleman ] is as significant as [ John ] Coltrane. He has made an equal contribution to music history. He deserves to be included in the pantheon of pioneering artists. "

Disco Graphical Notes

Recording data exclusive mix, as this is not always indicated.

Many ( obsolete ) CDs offered by Steve Coleman himself on his website in mp3 for free download.


The available on DVD Documentary "Elements of One" by Eve-Marie Breglia shows Coleman in the encounter with various influences (including with Cuban, African and Indian musicians ). The individual scenes of the film were released in 2005, recorded during the years 1996 to 2003. The DVD contains the 98 minute long documentary and additional scenes to the extent of 60 minutes.