Fans of slammin’ yet radio-ready, Jazz-Funk Fusion, will rejoice upon the discovery of bassist/composer Mitchell Coleman Jr.! Coleman, a disciple of the Stanley Clarke, Larry Graham, Louis Johnson and Marcus Miller schools of The Throwdown, is still in awe of the success of the 2016 release of his debut CD, Perception. Perception is described as Mitchell’s second musical journey of self-exploration – which fulfilled Mitchell’s lifelong dream of expressing the music that’s been in his heart since he began thumpin’ basses at the tender age of 10.
- Who are you, and what do you do?
My name is Mitchell Coleman Jr, and I am an electric bass player.
- Who are your primary musical influences? At the time I started playing bass, I was greatly influenced by Mark Adams from the funk group Slave. In the beginning, my musical approach could be defined as “unfiltered, take no prisoners funk”. As I developed, I really got into Marcus Miller – especially after hearing his work on David Sanborn’s,“Straight to the Heart”(1984). I started to hear the music that touched me. I did not have the ear for heavy jazz, and did not know how to approach it. But then there was the collaboration between Miles Davis and Marcus Miller and the gap between jazz, and the funk I enjoy, was bridged and I started to hear a sophistication I did not hear before! Later, I got into Larry Graham (the father of the thump), Stanley Clarke, and Jaco Pastorius messed up all my barely-developed musical theory. Those days confirmed to me that although the musicians I mentioned are great, and can be used as wonderful references…You can only be who you are, and you have to find your own voice.
- What are you listening to musically, in the past 12 months that has enhanced the way you think about music and your craft? Lately I have been listening to Miles Davis, Joe Zawinul and Steely Dan.
I love the way these great musicians can take something seemingly “straight head”, and take it (musically) sideways – creating mood changes and taking listeners on a magical musical journey.
- How does your personal musical voice directly relate to the function of the basses? Also, what are your main instruments? I approach each musical situation like a conversation. Like any conversation I am having, there is a time that I will speak and express my thoughts and emotions… depending on the subject. While others are speaking, I am listening, showing interest and providing support.
“You can only be who you are, and you have to find your own voice.”
- How does music affect your culture and immediate environment? Growing up as a product of divorced parents… I was alone a lot of the time. So, music became a comforter and friend to me. But, being alone also allowed me to discover and developed my own musical voice.
- Describe your standing practice regimen. Also, what technical (and musical) aspects of your playing are you currently working on? I started off playing everything that appealed to me as a bass player. Later, I would try to play the things that did not appeal to me. Naturally, I learned the songs that appealed to me faster! But, I learned more from the ones that did not.
I try to play something new every day by ear and then work on reading. Scales are also great for reference, and I am really getting into modes now – which seem to be the gatekeepers to the mood changes I love so much.
- How important is it to understand the Language of music? Like any language, music allows communication. In order to communicate well… you must have something to say. More importantly… you need to listen to what is being said.
- What advice would you give to a young, up and coming bass player?
Practice, Practice Practice!
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MUSIC REVIEW : “Twilight”
Music veteran Mitchell Coleman Jr. has made many strides in his blossoming career as a bass player and composer. Often noted for his contributions in the arena of jazz-funk fusion and collaborations with some great musicians including keyboardist Herman “Hollywood” Jenkins, Mitchell has built an impressive catalog of music. Mitchell’s current work with producer Michael B Sutton is equally phenomenal as evident from his upcoming single Twilight.
Produced by Michael B Sutton, Twilight is Mitchell’s latest single from his album Gravity. Twilight has a smooth groove with a funky bassline that has a warm sound and is very distinctive in its structure. Mitchell Coleman Jr. speaks through his bass in an unorthodox but handsome manner, one that will surely bring intrigue to music lovers. The track has a very interesting drum pattern and percussion fill that compliments Mitchell’s bass offering. Keyboards and additional instrumentation give Twilight its nighttime melody and expand on the depth of the track.