It’s a pressure cooker type of deal. Steve Coleman’s Five Elements outfit simmers and bubbles and boils until the lid blows off and the steam screams out. Thanks to the intricate interplay – which has been the DNA of the saxophonist/conceptualist’s stuff since he set up his lab in the heady Fort Greene ‘80s – watching the process can be mind-boggling: body music posing as a chess match. Trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson, guitarist Miles Okazaki, bassist Anthony Tidd and drummer Sean Rickman comprise the quintet, and their agility is unparalleled. I have an explosive concert hall set from last summer’s Montreal Jazz Fest forever etched in my mind, and when they set up shop in a cozy room like the Vanguard, every micro maneuver boasts an even greater impact. Don’t take your eyes off that rhythm section.
Coleman’s Natal Eclipse band drops Morphogenesis (Pi Recordings) on June 23