Steve Coleman is an alto saxophonist and composer whose technical virtuosity and engagement with diverse musical traditions are expanding the possibilities of spontaneous composition. Coleman updates iconic musical idioms in the creative traditions of luminaries like John Coltrane and Charlie Parker by infusing them with melodic, rhythmic, and structural components inspired by music of the larger African Diaspora, as well as from the continents of Africa, Eurasia, and the Americas (in particular, West Africa, Cuba, Brazil, Europe, India, and Indonesia). His work also draws heavily on inspiration from nature, metaphysics, and science — integrating, for example, patterns derived from the cycles and relationships of the planets in our solar system, or, as on Functional Arrhythmias (2013), the pulsating patterns of the human heart.
Coleman’s commitment to mentorship and community has also distinguished his extraordinary career. M-Base (Macro-Basic Array of Structured Extemporizations), a cooperative that Coleman co-founded in the mid-1980s and that is still vital today as the non-profit organization M-Base Concepts, Inc., provides a supportive environment for musical experimentation and original performance. Coleman attended Illinois Wesleyan University (1974–1976) and Roosevelt University (1976–1977). In addition to giving workshops worldwide, he has been an artist in residence at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (2009–2010) and the Thelonious Monk Institute (2008–2009) and a faculty member at the University of California at Berkeley (2000–2002), the Stanford Jazz Workshop (1995–1996), and the Banff School of Fine Arts (1985–1991). His extensive catalog of recordings includes Harvesting Semblances and Affinities (2010), Invisible.