Colin Stranahan is a 17-year-old drummer and composer of startling maturity and talent. As a child growing up in the Denver area, he was mentored by his father, a music teacher, and by local trumpeter Ron Miles, who makes an appearance on two of this album's six tracks; he was influenced early on by Miles Davis and later, and perhaps more powerfully, by John Coltrane. His debut album opens with a muscular rendition of Coltrane's "26-2" and ends with an original composition titled "Now I'm Up" that draws more explicitly on the blues and Davis' work in the post-bop era. His playing very occasionally edges into gratuitous busyness, and his writing very occasionally lapses into unnecessary abstruseness, as on the interestingly sideways "As If the Dream Were Untold," which isn't quite interesting enough to justify a 12-minute-plus disquisition. But for crying out loud, the kid's 17 years old -- what's much more salient is the fact that most of the time he plays with exquisite taste and writes with amazing skill and invention. The scary thought is that someday people will probably be looking back at this album and commenting on how much he's grown since.
Dreams Untold Review
by Rick Anderson