When: November 1st, 2014, 8:00 PM
Where: Vermont Jazz Center, 72 Cotton Mill Hill, #222, Brattleboro, VT, 05301
What: Concert with the Jeff Coffin Mu’tet
Who: Jeff Coffin, saxophones, Bill Fanning, trumpet, Chris Walters, piano and keyboards, Felix Pastorius, electric bass, Futureman (Roy Wooten) on drums.
Tickets available online at www.vtjazz.org, or by calling 802 254 9088, ext. 1 or at In the Moment Records, Main St. Brattleboro
Jazz Times writes about the Mu’tet:
Any band that jams like this has earned an exclamation point in the title of its live album…equal parts Galactic and Dirty Dozen Brass Band…(Coffin) enters like a spinning top, corkscrewing his phrases into a tightly wound circle that turns into a cyclone.
On November 1st at 8:00 PM, The Vermont Jazz Center will present 3-time Grammy Winner, Jeff Coffin, saxophonist for the Dave Matthews Band and Béla Fleck’s Flecktones. At the VJC, he’ll be performing with the Mu’tet, a group that reflects Coffin’s philosophy that “music must change and mutate in order to evolve.” Their repertoire consists of catchy tunes set over an array of complex feels: deep funk, New Orleans, Latin and swing. Their sound is propelled by rhythms you’ve never heard before and imbued with world music influences. The surprise factor is that the compositions are often in odd meters, delivered over precise, danceable grooves.
Coffin will perform at the VJC with an all-star version of the Mu’tet that includes Felix Pastorius on electric bass (Yellow Jackets, son of Jaco), Bill Fanning on trumpet, Chris Walters on piano and keyboards and Roy “Futureman” Wooten on drums and percussion. This band has recorded six albums together and uplifted venues and festivals around the world.
Most listeners are familiar with Coffin’s playing through his association with Béla Fleck and the Flecktones and the Dave Matthews band. He appears on every album Fleck recorded between 1998 and 2008 including three of their Grammy Award winning recordings. Coffin has simultaneously maintained a thriving solo and collaborative career since 1991. After graduating from North Texas State, Jeff has provided support for a wide array of artists, including the Dave Matthews Band, Van Morrison, Branford Marsalis, Medeski, Martin & Wood, Bob Mintzer, DJ Logic, Maceo Parker, McCoy Tyner, Baaba Maal, Phish, Mike Clarke’s Prescription Trio, Galactic, Kirk Whalum, Widespread Panic, Willie Nelson, Victor Wooten, the Mavericks, Leftover Salmon, Chester Thompson, Garth Brooks, J.D. Souther, Vinnie Colaiuta, the Dixie Chicks, Bob Moses, Stanton Moore, the Tuvan Throat Singers, Snarky Puppy, John Scofield, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Wailers and many others. Originally from New England, he now calls Nashville, Tennessee home. While there he contributes to the local music scene, recording with a variety of stars while running a bi-monthly, community jazz workshop and jam session.
Jeff joined the Dave Matthews band for their 2008 summer tour after saxophonist LeRoi Moore was injured in an ATV accident. Though the stint was originally planned to be temporary, Moore died unexpectedly of complications from his injuries and Coffin has remained with the band since and has been a key contributor on six albums.
The Mu’tet’s music is buoyant and upbeat, funky and sophisticated; each of the musicians has the capability to draw on monstrous chops. Nonetheless, dynamics and the judicious use of space are essential ingredients in their presentations. “Whether it be New Orleans Second Line, African, Indian Ragas, Brazilian, folk songs, Gypsy music, Alan Lomax field recordings, jazz, funk, etc…” Coffin says, “the spirit and breath of the music is what I take away from the listening and playing. It’s what decides for me if I like it or not…I consider it ‘Spirit Music.’
Joining Coffin on the front line is Bill Fanning on trumpet whose mentors include Emil Haddad and Bobby Shew. In 1990 after his enlistment in the Navy, Bill worked as a lead trumpet player aboard the Holland America Cruise Line. He met Jeff Coffin and moved to Nashville, Tennessee, recording with him and performing with other luminaries such as Chester Thompson, Bela Fleck, Bernard Purdie, Victor Wooten, Glenn Frey, Bruce Springstein, Sheryl Crowe, John Forgerty, Bruce Hornsby in festivals throughout the US and Europe. In 1998 Fanning received a scholarship to New England Conservatory and moved back to the central Massachusetts area. While at the Conservatory, Bill performed with Jon Faddis, Maria Schneider and George Russell and many others. Bill has toured with the Artie Shaw Band, the Benny Goodman Tribute Band and the Nelson Riddle Orchestra. He has also performed with pop artists The O’Jays, The Temptations, Little Anthony and the Imperials, and Lou Christie.
The pianist/keyboardist is New Orleans born Chris Walters who now makes Nashville his home. He served as Barbara Mandrel’s musical director for eight years and toured with country supergroup, Alabama for 7 years. He can be found backing up JD Souther, Peter Mayer and many others. He’s performed with the Nashville Symphony and recorded on film scores by Bela Fleck.
Felix Pastorius, son of bass great Jaco Pastorius, roots the Mu’tet on electric bass. He has been playing with Coffin since 2002 and is also featured on all of their recordings. Felix recently toured the US with the Heavy Pets and has been living and playing in NYC. At 6′ 6″ tall, Felix is a gifted composer and a monster bassist with the chops and sensitivity of someone twice his height. Pastorius confesses: “I grew up listening to the Chili Peppers and Primus, you know?”, Now he performs and records with the Yellowjackets: Russell Ferrante William Kennedy Bob Mintzer, Hipster Assassins, Chris Ward Social Experiment and others.
The drummer of the Mu’tet is 5-time Grammy Award Winner, Roy “Futureman” Wooten, an artist known for “bridging the gap between the past, the present and the future.” He is an inventor, scientist, musician, composer and drummer for Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. His Drumitar, used extensively in the music of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, allows him the ability to replicate the sound of an entire contemporary drum kit, with the movement of just a few fingers on a guitar shaped instrument. Max Roach once told him “that was the most creative approach to drumming I have ever seen.” His second invention, the “RoyEl,” resembles a piano but plays notes not found in the traditional western music scales. His third invention, the Dorothy Graye plays off of Scriabin’s color and sound theory and uses mathematical concepts to create tunings. Wooten often dresses up as a pirate and uses the pseudonym “RoyEl.” His solo albums are experimental and include the Seamless Script, Pi Lullaby, Evolution de la Musique and the Black Mozart Ensemble
This is an extraordinary opportunity to hear one of the best funk-jazz bands in the world. Jeff Coffin is so busy gigging with the Dave Matthews band, that it was a lucky strike for the VJC to be able to book him and the Mu’tet. They’ve been trying to make this connection work out since the Mu’tet performed at the Jazz Educator’s Network in January of 2011.
The Mu’tet will perform at the Vermont Jazz Center on Saturday, November 1st at 8:00 PM. This concert is made possible due to generous financial support from Dave Ellis of Ellis Music and Roger Wilken of Clear Solutions. The VJC is appreciative for ongoing support from the Vermont Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. Hospitality for VJC artists is provided by the Hampton Inn of Brattleboro. VJC publicity is underwritten by the Brattleboro Reformer, WVPR, WVEW and WFCR.
Tickets for Jeff Coffin and the Mu’tet at the VJC, November 1st are $20+ general admission, $15 for students with I.D. (contact VJC about educational discounts); available at In the Moment in Brattleboro, or online at www.ntjazz.org. Tickets can also be reserved by calling the Vermont Jazz Center ticket line, 802-254-9088, ext. 1.