JEFF COFFIN MU'TET | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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JEFF COFFIN MU'TET

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Jeff Coffin has made his name as the reeds whiz with Bela Fleck & the Flecktones, where his malleable approach perfectly suits the band's wild range of rhythms and idioms. But for his own group's sound, Coffin stakes out some prime New Orleans swampland, then uses sonic textures and effects to construct a virtual 21st-century Tipitina's. His label, Compass, claims the Mu'tet record Bloom (2005) is a "fusion of Ornette Coleman, the Meters, and Medeski, Martin & Wood"--which would certainly be intriguing, but Coffin doesn't fuse these elements so much as take them as starting points for individual tunes. The results are more than seductive enough, thanks to Coffin's solid musicality, his stated desire to find common threads in disparate genres, and his willingness to let things "mutate" (as he puts it--hence the project's name). Though Bloom was a studio parade of 20-odd guests, including a panoply of horn players and electronicists, the touring band is currently a lean quartet with plenty of promise: Coffin, keyboardist Chris Walters, fellow Flecktone Roy "Futureman" Wooten on the drumitar, a guitar-shaped digital drum device, and bassist Felix Pastorius, who is the son of exactly who you think. See also Saturday. a 10 PM, House of Blues Back Porch Stage, 329 N. Dearborn, 312-923-2000 or 312-559-1212, $15-$18.

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