by Stamish Malcuss
Coalescence brings forth their second offering Coalescence 2 featuring compositions by five close friends and colleagues who share a like-minded vision. The five members are all award-winning, New York City based jazz musicians that have been playing together in various configurations for more than two decades. Their first album simply titled Coalescence was recorded in 2012. In 2018, Coalescence recorded their second album Coalescence 2. It is a collaborative effort once again, from the eleven compositions, to the mixing, the mastering, including the cover art and song order. The album is brought to life by Kenny Shanker: saxophones; Mike Eckroth: piano; Daisuke Abe: guitar; Yoshi Waki: bass; and Brian Fishler: drums.
“Downhill Climb” is a marvelous straight-eight selection that has a hip feel that incorporates an interesting rhythmic pattern and various feels through the form. The melody is highly melodic and very easy to follow, the bands relaxed playing is a joy to hear. Eckroth’s piano solo is relaxed with rhythmically wide arpeggios flowing across the keyboard. The different feels in the form really keeps the music fresh and sounding like it is being developed. Shanker is a an amazingly lyrical saxophonist. He plays with energy, but never blurs the line between sophisticated pattern at the expensive of melodic weight. Abe’s guitar tone is warm and round as he snakes through the changes. Again, the power of the composition’s form is just as important as the improviser’s statements.
“Weather Chaser” has an interesting middle eastern flair that brings interest to the albums overall flow and feel. The percussion and bassline are excellent. The melody is jovial and memorable, and the form again plays an important role. The bands rhythmic patterns provide emphasize and interest. Shanker’s solo is an extension of the many possibilities of the melody. His lines continue the melodies as he effortlessly explores the range of his soprano saxophone. Rohin Khemani guests on the tabla, his performance is excellent and adds to the track and the overall colorization of the project. This band is a well oiled machine and anything they play is always deep with emotion and substance.
One might have the tendency to think too many cooks in the kitchen might make for a disjunctive or too broadly-based album. Not so, Coalescence is a band aptly named, it is the congealing and coalescence of these akin musicians that makes the recipe such a delightful ambrosia.