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Music

Jeff Coffin: Mutopia

Chad Berndston

A wealth of groovy, progressive cuts steeped in atmosphere and heavy with guests.


Jeff Coffin

Mutopia

Label: Compass
US Release Date: 2008-07-15
UK Release Date: 2008-08-04
Amazon
iTunes

2008 will go down as one of the busiest years of Jeff Coffin's life. Not only has the supremely effusive and virtuosic saxophonist maintained his role in the Flecktones and added this new release from his Mu'tet, but Coffin was called, over the summer, to spell injured LeRoi Moore as touring saxophonist in Dave Matthews Band -- a role Coffin filled through and after Moore's tragic death, in August, from complications stemming from his all-terrain vehicle accident in Charlottesville.

With attention turned to DMB and whether Coffin could land a permanent role with the band -- a bit gauche to discuss now, but not exactly out of the realm of possibility, no? -- Mutopia, the latest from the Mu'tet, is probably left as a footnote. Not that that should stop anyone from discovering its myriad charms: a wealth of groovy, progressive cuts steeped in atmosphere and heavy with guests, including Fleck, Futureman, and Victor Wooten from the Flecktones, keys-man and flautist Kofi Burbridge, and bassist Felix Pastorius, he of a legendary pedigree. It's all charming, if occasionally too academic or inchoate. The highs bring Fleck to a funky, bluegrass zenith on "Bubble Up", and everyone to a boil on "Al's Greens", an all-hands affair with a Wooten/Pastorius bass duel (how could they not?), some Burbridge filigree, and Coffin's own screaming tenor at the forefront. Would that all "footnotes" had this much to chew on (and make sure you stick around for "Emma Ya", a genre-defying gumbo that appears as a hidden track).

7

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