Jazz CD Reviews

Jeff Coffin Mu’tet – Mutopia – Compass Records

A band in search of a sound.

Published on October 11, 2008

Jeff Coffin Mu’tet – Mutopia – Compass Records

Jeff Coffin Mu’tet – Mutopia – Compass Records 7 4473 2, 1:02:58 ***:

(Jeff Coffin – tenor sax, alto sax, soprano sax, baritone sax, clarinet, flute, sleigh bells, singing bowl, tlapitzalli, vocals; Roy “Futureman” Wooten – drums; Felix Pastorius – electric bass; Kofi Burbridge – piano, Wurlitzer keyboard, Hammond B-3, flute; plus 12 guests)

It’s not that Jeff Coffin, a long time member of Bela Fleck’s Flecktones, and bandmates don’t make pleasant enough music; they just seem too scattered, kind of like the musical equivalent of ADHD, jumping from one genre to another: not without a certain skill, but not really committed to anything either.  It’s like, you want the blues, well how about “One in, One out”; Middle-East tinged jazz, check out “L’Esperance”; for N’awleans trad, there’s “Move Your Rug”; reggae-ish Island jazz, “Emma Ya”; a Dr. John-flavored deep-south number, try “Sweet Magnolias”; for a heart-wrenching ballad, there’s “Turiya.”

Yes, this band can creditably play in almost style, but where’s their heart?  What do they really get off on?  It’s hard to tell.  The long list of guests only adds to the confusion.  Jack of all trades, master of none?  For me, that’s pretty much where they’re at.

TrackList: Tag, Al’s Greens, Bubble up, On in, One out, Turiya, L’Esperance, Sweet Magnolias, Move Your Rug, Emma Ya

– Jan P. Dennis

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