Coalescence: Coalescence 2 Review
By: Elberton Cisnero
Five close friends, all New York City based jazz musicians came together to create their own coalesced sound. The ensemble is based on contributions by each player from the writing, to the production and even down to the artwork. Their first effort self-titled Coalescence began their discography in 2012. Their second album Coalescence 2 hit the distribution outlets on January 23, 2019. It features long-time collaborators, Kenny Shanker on saxophones, Mike Eckroth on piano, Daisuke Abe on guitar, Yoshi Waki on bass and Brian Fishler on drums.
“Lynx” starts the record with an up-tempo waltz that is an outstanding vehicle for this power group to explore through improvisation. The quintet is versed in the modern language of jazz, while still holding true to the roots of the tradition. The melody is a building figure that is orchestrated with saxophone, guitar and piano, playing a complimentary figure. Shanker takes a driving solo that is inspired, his lines are musical and his rhythm is excellent. Eckroth follows Shanker in both energy and musical purpose. Both have a language that is deep in the tradition. Abe’s guitar sound is warm and acoustic in nature; his lines are fluid and musical. The cross-current rhythms of Fishler is wonderful throughout the solos. This band is so fun to listen to and “Lynx” is a fun start to an excellent set of music.
It is said that one can really hear the abilities of a musician when they are playing a ballad, and that rings true here on the track “Galileo’s Dialogue.” With Shanker playing the beautiful melody with quick fills by Eckroth in the spaces. Shanker’s improvisations are stunning displays of musicianship. Even in the most complex phrases, his time and direction of melodic flow is absolutely clear. The interaction between Shanker, Eckroth and Fishler is conversational and enthralling. The track is not very long, but the presentation by the band is meaningful. Shanker is a player that has it all: great time feel, strong melodic direction and the ability to make each phrase build to an exciting shape that is meaningful.
What is so magical about Coalescence 2, is the continued comradery of the group. Truly a collaborative whole, with each piece fitting tightly together for a woven sound of tapestry that resonates with brilliance. Each player’s musical strengths are highlighted, and the varied styles of the songs add to the sonic landscape of an overall highly musical outcome. Total sum of the parts; great playing, superb compositions and solid chemistry all around. A triumph for this longstanding collaboration.
Release Date: January 23, 2019
Label: Wise Cat Records