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Music for a large ensemble based on the processes, functions and rhythms of the human body, utilizing diverse instrumental combinations.

The Latest Update


Posted on September 14, 2015 by Steve Coleman

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We just returned from a successful trip to Europe, where we performed with four different ensembles.

Steve Coleman and The Council of Balance performed at the Saalfelden Jazz Festival in the Autrian Alps.

Steve Coleman and Five Elements performed concerts at the Pomigliano Jazz Festival in Pomigliano Italy and the Concert of Jazz and Wine at the Château Carbonnieux in Bordeaux France.

Finally, Steve Coleman and The Mystic Rhythm Society, Steve Coleman and The Council of Balance and Steve Coleman’s Natal Eclipse performed at the la Villette Festival in Paris France.

Steve Coleman and The Council of Balance is the same group that recorded this Synovial Joints project, and we performed almost all of the music on this recording. Steve Coleman’s Natal Eclipse is a new group which I hope to record very soon.

Please register for free on my website (m-base.net) for further updates, as well as audio and video footage from both the European trip and the previous Chicago residency. 

You can view the entire performance of Steve Coleman and The Council of Balance in Paris France above. 

More Updates ▼

Steve Coleman and the Council of Balance (feat. Talea Ensemble) update

Posted on August 26, 2015 by Steve Coleman

We are heading to Europe tomorrow for a series of concerts in the Austrian Alps and Paris. Should be interesting, as playing live with a large group is always a challenge. Hope to see some of you there. Check out these links for more details:


Synovial Joints Recording Session: Acupuncture Openings

Posted on June 2, 2015 by Steve Coleman
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Some recorded footage from my recording Synovial Joints. This is an excerpt from composition is called Acupuncture Openings.

Synovial Joints Recording Session: Tempest

Posted on June 2, 2015 by Steve Coleman
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Some recorded footage from my recording Synovial Joints. This is an excerpt from composition is called Tempest.

Synovial Joints Recording Session: Harmattan

Posted on June 2, 2015 by Steve Coleman
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Some recorded footage from my recording Synovial Joints. This is an excerpt from composition is called Harmattan.

Synovial Joints review

Posted on April 28, 2015 by Steve Coleman

This is the first review that I have seen of the Synovial Joints recording.


Synovial Joints is released today

Posted on April 28, 2015 by Steve Coleman

After a lot of work, Synovial Joints is being released today in the United States! I believe it has already been released in the EU.

This recording has been a labor of love, and I like to thank all of the musicians who participated, Systems Two Recording Studio, TidbiT SonoS, Sooya Arts Management, Pi Recordings, The Guggenheim Foundation and New Music USA.


DownBeat (May 2015)

Posted on April 12, 2015 by Steve Coleman

In the current DownBeat (May 2015) I discuss this Synovial Joints project.


I am applying for this New Music USA Project Grant for the purpose of composing and recording a suite of compositions for an ensemble of 17 to 22 musicians, utilizing instrumental colors found in musical expressions of diverse cultural origins (American, European, Caribbean, South American, etc.), performing music of both a spontaneous and a pre-conceived nature.

My general goal is to create music that in some way alters the underlying structure of spontaneous music, the most important being its flow, i.e., the type of propulsion that drives musical motion. Flow is one of the primary temporal qualities that provoke a physical response from the musicians, as well as a visceral response from the listeners.

A secondary goal is to introduce a different concept of how tonal magnetism (which includes tonal gravity, voice-leading, tonal progression, etc.) is achieved through musical composition. By using the analogy of biological neural networks, spontaneous melodies traveling along tonal pathways can function in ways that reveal novel tonal qualia, perhaps experienced differently by the musician and the listener.

Structurally, this suite will be developed on ideas that reflect the processes, functions and rhythms of the human body. My intention is to model individual elements of the musical composition on the physiological movements within the nervous, respiratory, cardiovascular, lymphatic, endocrine, and exocrine systems of the human body. Many of these systems are cyclical, involving the circulation of fluids, gases, and electrochemical signals throughout the body, by using various methods of rhythmic contraction and relaxation. The overall musical structure of the composition will be held together based on the musculoskeletal system, hence the title Synovial Joints Suite.

The concept for orchestrating this suite was inspired by listening to natural sounds recorded in the Amazon Rainforest. I call this concept camouflage orchestration (i.e., disruptive coloration), an idea that distributes instrumental sounds so that they are perceived as being heard in foreground, middleground, and background relationships. This differs from traditional methods of orchestration through the use of rhythm to achieve this orchestration effect, so that it is camouflaged, slowly revealing itself on an unconscious level.

I composed the majority of this suite during a two-month sabbatical from performing. The instrumentation includes my ensemble, Steve Coleman and Five Elements, with guests who normally perform in new music ensembles, and percussionists from Cuba and Brazil. My goal is to record this music in a professional recording studio, and to document the entire process in writing and on video over a 5 month period of time, with the results being presented to the public.

Start and End Dates



Brooklyn, New York

8 updates
Last update on September 14, 2015

Project Created By

Allentown, Pennsylvania
Born in Chicago, Illinois in 1956, alto saxophonist and composer Steve Coleman moved to New York City in 1978 and has since lived in the NYC area. Although he has led several groups over the years, his main group ‘Steve Coleman and Five Elements’ began in 1981 and is still active today. Initially influenced by…



  1. It’s been a long haul and a lot of work, but we are in the final stages now, mastering, artwork, post production. Next comes the gathering of all of the documentation, a lot of which I will make public on my website http://www.m-base.net – coming soon.

  2. Dealing with liner notes now. Trying to explain this music in general terms is a trip. However, I do get to explain the symbolism that the music is based on, and the ‘story’ that it tells. Music without words can be a challenge for listeners to ‘hear’ the message – and so some clues can help.

  3. Finally finished with the CD cover and mastering. Planning for a late April 2015 release.

    Synovial Joints
    Steve Coleman and the Council of Balance

    Great to get support from New Music USA. I’m hoping this leads to bigger and better projects in the coming years.

    There is a lot of press that has come out or is coming out in the next few months:
    Wire Magazine (out now – March 2015)
    New York Times (March or April 2015)
    NPR – All Things Considered (March or April 2015)
    Downbeat Cover story (April 2015)
    Seeking Solutions with Suzanne (Comcast TV program) (April 2015)
    JazzWise (cover story?) (April or May 2015)

    We are performing at the Jazz Gallery (NYC) Friday & Saturday, March 6-7, 2015 with Steve Coleman and Five Elements.

    We are performing at the Kimmel Center (Philadelphia) on Wednesday April 8, 2015

  4. As mentioned, we are performing at the Jazz Gallery (NYC) Friday & Saturday, March 6-7, 2015 with Steve Coleman and Five Elements.


  5. In addition to the events listed above:

    The Synovial Joints recording is coming out in the last week of April (1 week before in Europe).

    Also around this time in AprilI’ll be featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered”

    Finally I’ll be featured on the cover of the May issue of DownBeat, which comes out in April. The digital edition of DownBeat comes out March 31st, and the print edition is mailed to subscribers at the same time. This DownBeat issue is available on newsstands around April 15.

    I all of this press I am interviewed about this Synovial Joints recording.

    We just finished arranging the first of our extensive residencies in different cities. This residency will be between July 10 and Aug 6 in Chicago, with most of the activities occurring at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts (915 E 60th St, Chicago, IL), our home base while we are in Chicago – and culminating in a concert on Aug 6 at Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz in Millennium Park. I am really looking forward to this residency, as it will provide an opportunity to perform nightly for one month, give multiple workshops, and do outreach activities in the community.

    Please register on my website at m-base.net for much more detailed information, instructional videos, extensive blogs, etc. – registration is free of charge.

  6. We’ve decided to produce an EPK for this Synovial Joints recording.

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