James Coleman

Theremin Zuihitsu


A few instruments have to be presented in a very special way so that amateurs become aware of their entire and profound difference. I think this record stands the test very well without »theremin“ being pointed out like a kind of rare circus activity. Although the presentation could make you think you’re going to experience a zen-new-age therapy, it is a very good improvised music record, with theremin. I was first amazed by those great players, as I have never even heard their names. I am thinking of cellist Vic Rawlings, percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani, trumpet player Greg Kelley and singer Liz Tonne in particular. The quality of the music is enhanced by a fantastic recording and mix and by perfect mastering. The room feels very warm, which helps a lot to enter those fine and very clever improvisations. All pieces are constructed utilizing a very collective approach, leading to a rare understanding of situations. No lack of humour, and quite non-idiomatic improv. I must say that somehow you forget very soon that James Coleman plays the theremin, of course music comes first here. It’s clear that he is a strong master of the instrument, he does avoid in his playing what the tool could do in terms of jokes, tricks and so forth. He plays a lot with dynamics, sound textures, spaces and lines. Nothing goes too far, which can happen after a while, and is only sometimes what you might want to hear. Something loud just once to see what would happen. In its improvised duets, and in some ways and approaches this record reminds of Chicago cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm. A very good surprise to be discovered.

See also: James Coleman Homepage

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