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Artist: Jeff Coffin
Label: Compass Records 
Length: 11 tracks/67:42

The sound of two recorders kicks off this album, immediately showing that it is not the usual jazz effort.  Then the bass and drums and a rather middle-eastern soprano saxophone line kick in.  Welcome to Tuesday's Waterloo-- welcome to the Jeff Coffin Mu'tet.  The album Go-Round is an album that makes the rounds of various strains of jazz. In Coffin's own words, from the album liner, "Music must be moving, almost dancing, the swirl of life.  Continous and ever-connected."  On this account, his group succeeds very well.

Jeff Coffin is a saxophonist with the Flecktones, Bela Fleck's group, and the Mu'tet is a side project of his which allows him to experiment along lines of his own choosing.  Coffin has also collaborated with Charlie Peacock in the last year or so, and recorded this album at Peacock's studio.

Complex rhythms abound throughout the album, but the melody line never gets lost throughout the various soloing; a sign of mastery of technique and jazz thought.  Coffin's playing style is very tuneful, rarely resorting to an overblown sound.  While not easy listening in the manner of Kenny G, it is not so abstract as to be hard to listen to.  The chord progressions are interesting and logical, and all the players in the Mu'tet (which varies in lineup from song to song, although the basic group is Coffin on sax, Tom Giampietro on percussion, Chris Walters on piano, and Derek Jones on bass) demonstrate an ability to let it fly when called on, and otherwise, hold the group together.  One never gets the feeling that the group is anything but tight.

While I'm not the biggest jazz fan in the world, I enjoyed this album, and found it a refreshing break from the modern rock and pop which forms the mainstay of my listening.  The Jeff Coffin Mu'tet has created an album which while distinctly jazz, is also accessible to outside audiences, and for that they are to be commended.

Alex Klages 11/4/2001



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