Barry Coates, Jimmy Haslip, Jerry Kalaf, New Dreams Review
by Nolan DeBuke
Barry Coates is an electric and syn-guitarist that has built a reputation for his melodic and expressive approach to his playing and writing. Coates has teamed up with bassist Jimmy Haslip and drummer Jerry Kalaf to present his latest album, New Dreams. Introducing eight compositions, New Dreams delivers music meant to be savored. There is nothing predictable or unsurprising within the grooves of this album; each track is an adventure of sounds just waiting for your experience. Whether touching on the pensive or the cognitive, the album fires on all cylinders by three top-shelf players.
“Towner” has an energetic feel from Kalaf as Coates creates an atmosphere of mystery and beauty with his guitar chords and textures, and Haslip’s big bass sound anchors the trio. Coates’ soundscape is unique in its seamless combining of guitar and guitar synthesizer. Though the song is dreamy, the melody still has substance and movement. As we continue to hear the twin guitar sounds from Coates, the multi-hued texture of the harmony is a thing of beauty as it swells in pastel colors.
“Swing Set” is another fascinating orchestration from Coates’ guitar and guitar synth. A chordal loop is used to build the composition over. Haslip and Kalaf instantly set a groove that feels good and has a pocket a mile wide. Coates solo over the progression does not rely on flash or speed. Instead, he uses gorgeous harmonic/melodic relations to glide smoothly over the cushioning rhythm bed of Haslip and Kalaf.
New Dreams creates a series of tunes with structures that flow with emotional soundscapes; each composition has a framework that allows the trio to explore textures and colors. In that context, the textures and colors of these compositions are ever-shifting, as the trio builds to entice your aural perceptions with nuanced skill and musicality.