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Mitchell Coleman Jr. — Perception

Apr. 7, 2017

I knew when I reviewed bassist Mitchell Coleman’s debut release, Soul Searching, back in December 2014 that this was going to be one powerful artist from whom we would hear much more solidly charged material. His latest release, Perception, proves me right as it struts onto the scene with heavy, funk-filled grooves and demonstrations of how very skilled and perceptive Coleman is at his core.

Cutting no corners on quality, the bassist lays it down confidently and with much body. Nothing here suggests anything but power, style, and a serious commitment to shedding light on jazz/funk as it should be offered.

Coleman makes his statement very quickly here as he kicks it off with the very large, hard driving “Funkatized” and proceeds to hypnotize with monster tracks like the fusion-laced “Interfuse’” the mid-tempo uncompromisingly nasty “Journey” which also puts on display a well-placed horn arrangement, more get-atcha bottom-heavy funk with the forceful “Steal Away” (which has a very cool hook, by the way), the self-explanatory “So Funky,” and so many others — some of which are a bit more laid-back but having no less effect, like the cool and rhythmic “Enchanted Summer” and a magnificent cover of The Crusaders’ “Street Life,” and the smooth and easy funk of “Africa.” Each track is presented with such attitude and authority that you are simply compelled to listen and reach the conclusion that this cat has to be among the most grounded and competent masters of that low frequency territory.

To complement this bassman, the sax work here (shared by Kim Richmond, Michael Bolivar, and Felix Oquendo) is satisfyingly riveting, as are the sweet vocals from Dionyza Sutton.

Here is a very complete album by an artist who clearly knows his way around a bass and who was wise to enhance his work even further with glowing work from those with whom he surrounds himself on this album. This is one of those “Wow” albums that you’ll want in your collection. – Ronald Jackson