Jeff Coffin & Charlie Peacock: Arc of the Circle (Runway Records)
The most impressive part about this album is that it was recorded all in one sitting at Charlie's house in Nashville (a church built in 1912.) Oh yeah, and it was the first time that Charlie Peacock and Jeff Coffin had ever played together. The entire recording was improvised and the orchestrations and other players were added after they recorded their session together. It pretty much goes without saying, but when music greats such as Jeff Coffin and Charlie Peacock come into collaboration with one another, a unique musical experience is sure to follow. Arc of the Circle is the realization of the potential that these two musicians create when they come together. Charlie's piano/keyboard playing communicates with Jeff's saxophone playing in a conversational flow, creating a free form to the music while still remaining very melodic.
Both Jeff and Charlie are Grammy award winning artists, making them some of the most well respected musicians around today. Jeff has traveled the world with the virtuosic group Bela Fleck & the Flecktones, as well as sharing the stage with greats like The Dave Matthews Band, Garth Brooks, Phish, Van Morrison, The Dixie Chicks, John Scofield, Victor Wooten and many others. He is also known for his amazing signature move of playing both the alto and tenor sax at the same time! Charlie has an equally impressive resume working in almost all styles of music as a songwriter, producer, and studio musician. His credits include Switchfoot, Amy Grant, Sara Groves, Audio Adrenaline, David Crowder Band, dcTalk, CeCe Winans, and many others.
There are also some stellar guests on this album including Marc Ribot, who is featured on the new Robert Plant/Alison Krauss project. Other musicians featured on Arc of the Circle include Derek Phillips on drums/xylophone (Charlie Hunter, Rice Dice Mice), Tony Miracle with electronics/laptop, Ken Lewis on percussion (4 time Grammy winner), and Joe Murphy on tuba.
Arc of the Circle showcases Jeff and Charlie's improvisational skills, keeping the listener engaged until the very last note. Emotion rises as Charlie lays into his piano and Jeff runs up and down the sax, and then calm settles in as the two smoothly transition into a pair of dreamy melodies that dance around one another, giving counterpoint new meaning. Dissonance is used beautifully and with purpose in many of the tunes, creating an edge to this album that is not commonly found in jazz today. A very solid background pad of percussion, synths, and electronic sounds is also provided, serving as a platform for the melodic instruments to play over, giving Jeff and Charlie a lot of freedom to make real statements with their instruments.