|Jeff Coffin & Jeff Sipe – Duet|
Saxophonist Jeff Coffin and drummer Jeff Sipe have recently released Duet on Compass Records. The highly creative and improvisational set of 13 works on Duet make up a performance lasting 46:04 and are intended as a single listening experience.
Many may know Jeff Coffin from his long-standing position with Bela Fleck and the Flecktones and more recently his collaboration with the Dave Matthews Band. A short trip to google.com will unearth a plethora of clips displaying Coffins talents in a variety of styles and settings.
The setting here on Duet is a great departure from the more traditional sounds of jazz, rock, funk or other common forms of music. The first two improvisations Reintroduction and Once Again Together are relatively short pieces. I must admit that I was listening to the 3rd cut Mr. Lloyd and Master Higgins before I realized they were of three different titles.
Reintroduction features Coffin and Sipe on some wild sounds. Coffin’s saxophone – or part of a saxophone has a decidedly middle-eastern flavor set atop Sipe’s percussion. This segues into Once Again Together that starts off with Sipe’s swinging cymbals, toms and presumably Coffin’s tenor, complete with wide vibrato.
It was not until the third cut, that I was able to recall what a wonderful saxophonist Jeff Coffin is. His beautiful alto sound is in full bloom during Mr. Lloyd and Master Higgins. Later on Smiling Faces Coffin demonstrates he is equally masterful on the tenor saxophone.
From East To West begins with a pulsating groove laid down by Sipe on percussion. Coffin again plays as he did on Reintroduction, followed by multi-phonics and slap tonguing on Should I Stand. When played simply and softly, Jeff Coffin has a beautiful saxophone sound here as well.
The eclectic mix of Sipe’s percussion and Coffin’s winds is able to cover a wide range of the sound spectrum on Duet. There are times when Coffin’s sax sounds very traditional, yet it is offset by some very experimental sounds from Sipe’s percussion. At other times, as on Quiet Arrival, it is Sipe’s brushwork that seems very traditional and Coffin’s playing less so. His clarinet-sounding wind instrument is familiar yet quite different.
Several times while listening to Duet by the two Jeffs, I have lost track of how many different tracks there have been. They have succeeded in their intention of making this recording “a single listening experience.”
Scattering is a great title for the 11th cut. It is easy to envision the “scattering” of tiny insects or animals at the onset of Sipe’s percussion solo. Scattering segues seamlessly into First Light and Jeff Coffin’s Shakuhachi (?) flute solo. The last woodwind sound we are left to ponder is Jeff Coffin’s beautiful, waning tenor sound on Koty Blue.
Although I personally may not be a huge fan of such experimental and improvisational works as Duet, it is clear that Jeff Coffin and Jeff Sipe are two serious, accomplished musicians. Their passion and seriousness toward this music is evident throughout the recording.
You can find out more about Jeff Coffin & Jeff Sipe and Duet at compassrecords.com
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