Steve Coleman Profiled

Steve Coleman in Paris, July 2004

Source: The New York Times.

Steve Coleman is the most important jazz musician that many fans have never heard of. He’s been the leader on 30 albums in the last three decades and the mentor to a dozen younger artists now making headlines, yet he’s remained an underground figure, content to burrow his own pathways. Lately, though, his profile’s been rising. In the last two years, he’s won a trifecta of arts prizes: a Guggenheim fellowship, a Doris Duke performing artist award and a MacArthur genius grant.

On Tuesday, to celebrate his 60th birthday, he begins a monthlong residency at the Stone, in Manhattan’s East Village, playing almost every night with his longstanding quintet, Five Elements. It’s a throwback to a much earlier era, when the likes of John Coltrane or Thelonious Monk took over the stage at clubs like the Five Spot or the Half Note for a month or more to work out their next new things.