By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
By Joseph Hess
By Allsion Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By RFT Music
By Christian Schaeffer
By Gabriel San Roman
With his bald head, pointy goatee and habit of playing two saxophones at once, Jeff Coffin is a distinctive visual presence in Béla Fleck and the Flecktones. With his own band, the Mu'tet, Coffin is working to find his own distinctive voice, starting from the intersection of jazz and jam bands that continues to serve as an entry point to improvisational music for many younger listeners weaned on pop and rock.
The two-sax gimmick is indeed memorable, especially for those who weren't around to have heard Rahsaan Roland Kirk or Dick Heckstall-Smith back in the day. But showmanship aside, Coffin's musical skills and wide-ranging imagination are also deserving of wider attention. Like many jazz-oriented players of the post-fusion generation, Coffin grew up listening to and valuing all kinds of music, from Motown and the Beatles to Miles Davis and John Coltrane. His recordings with the Mu'Tet have shown off that variety of influences, incorporating New Orleans R&B, mainstream jazz, freebop, funky backbeats and assorted "world music" exotica.
Coffin's got a brand-new CD, Bloom, to promote, and the Flecktones are taking the year off, so he's hitting the road with a band featuring Doug Belote on drums, Alana Rocklin on bass and keyboardist Tyler Wood. The shambling funk of the Oyster Bar would seem to be a good fit for his music, and if you're a jam-band enthusiast or a mainstream jazz fan looking to sample something a little different, Coffin is worth a listen. -- Dean C. Minderman
Show at 10 p.m. For ticket prices and more information, call 314-621-8811.