Between Dreaming and Joy
Release date: August 26, 2022
Label: Ear Up Records
Between Dreaming and Joy is the latest release from saxophonist, composer and educator Jeff Coffin (Dave Matthews Band/Bela Fleck & the Flecktones). In the company of an eye-popping cast of musicians, the record is a breathtaking culmination of over two years in the studio. Calling upon its enigmatic, pandemic-induced origins, Coffin’s upcoming 10-track collection gathers unusual and new sounds for the saxophonist, speaking to the power of his boundless compositional impulse and eclectic sonic arrest.
Coffin is joined by a diverse, all-star group of musicians for his 21st release as a leader. With an impressive and vast lineup, each artist featured on Between Dreaming and Joy’s roster uniquely recorded for it in a different place – a rare circumstance for Coffin, who notes how recording each component felt like a jigsaw puzzle due to the album’s many pieces. The robust list of Coffin’s collaborators includes: Marcus King, Michael League, Robben Ford, Keith Carlock, Stefan Lessard, Nigel Hall, Kris Myers, DJ Logic, Bob Lanzetti, Jordan Person, Felix Pastorius, Chester Thompson, Buddy Strong, Bernardo Aguiar, Sarah Ariche, Jeff Babko, Mike Baggetta, Jennifer Hartswick, Vicente Archer, Chris Wood, Bill Fanning, Alana Rocklin, Ray Mason, Emmanuel Echem, Chris Walters, Richard Aspinwall, Derico Watson, David Rodgers, Derrek Phillips, Jonathan Wires and Tony Hall.
Between Dreaming And Joy, while anchored in spontaneity, captures Coffin’s inclination to transcend genre. The record is sustained by a variety of instrumentation and features 8 bassists, 6 drummers, 5 guitar players, 4 keyboardists, a set of Middle Eastern frame drums, Brazilian percussion, Moroccan vocals, a turntable artist, multiple horns, an ice cream truck, a Hungarian Tarogato and an African Ngoni.
Blending the fierce and calm, Coffin invites us into a harmonious realm he describes as a point “between dreaming and joy.” The album opens with the spirited fusion track “Vinnie the Crow”, where DJ Logic joins the lineup on turntables for an uplifting intro co-written by Coffin and Alex Clayton. Encapsulating the spirit of isolation, the title track is infused with whim, offering a reflective tone that at times evokes a blues rock anthem before segueing into a dreamlike, instrumental trance. Marcus King’s prolific offering on guitar here gives meaning to the word ‘joy,’ while Buddy Strong’s moody stroke of the B-3 organ complements the blissful rich harmonic music in the background.
Other compositions also pick up on Coffin’s playful curiosities, like “In the Belly Of The Whale,” which utilizes a cluster of Brazilian percussion instruments. The entire record is wrought by an atypical pairing of instruments — on the track “Ruthie,” a tribute to the late Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Kris Myers plays drums as well as a cowbell; while the album closer “Bird & Magic finds Coffin at one point playing a Coca-Cola bottle as a sound device.
Nearing the end of his expenditure, Coffin offers a trifecta saxophone performance on “Busting Out All Over,” taking listeners through an engrossing reverie with melodic interplay from David Rodgers on fender rhodes and B-3 organ. Exposing his dexterity with woodwinds, Coffin closes with a flute performance on the groove-infused “Bird & Magic,” a masterclass in nuance.
“I felt like I was alternating between dreaming and joy this entire time,” he shares. “These incredible spirits were all there with me as we found our way forward, together from different places.” Demonstrating his affinity for experimentation and profound commitment to the avant-garde, Jeff Coffin takes a tree-top, aerial view on Between Dreaming And Joy, finding commonality in the vibrations of everyday life with a fierce look onward, toward a new and enhanced vantage point.
More about JEFF COFFIN
Jeff Coffin is a globally celebrated saxophonist, composer, educator, and is a member of the legendary U.S. rock group, Dave Matthews Band. You may also know him from his 14 years, and 3 Grammy Awards, with the genre-defying Bela Fleck & the Flecktones. Jeff fronts numerous groups when not touring with DMB and has released 20+ solo CD’s on Ear Up Records.
Coffin is known for his musical passion, his deep commitment to music education, and his continued dedication to improvisational music.
Jeff is also a Yamaha Performing Artist & Clinician, a Boston Sax Shop Ambassador, teaches improvisation at the prestigious Vanderbilt University, authored numerous music books, authored a children’s book, produces, engineers, mixes, draws, and runs his own critically acclaimed record label, Ear Up Records.
"Many of the album's charms and saving graces arrive in the details and detours.." Read the review in the November 2022 issue of DownBeat Magazine.
"The standout cut for me is the stirring, bluesy title track." Read the review in the October 2022 issue of Jazzwise Magazine.
"Between Dreaming and Joy is a fascinating listen because it is incredibly upbeat, funky, and makes you want to groove." Read the review here.
"Saxophonist and flutist Jeff Coffin has always pushed the envelope.." Article and segment here.
"..this disc does contain some very beautiful moments." Read the 4-star review in French here.
Listen to the GRAMMY nominees in the 2023 Best Contemporary Instrumental category here.
"Hanging out with Jeff Coffin is a bit like listening to his music. Engulfed in a whirlwind of musical references, you’re never lost. " Read the feature story here.