Jazz  •  Free Jazz


Short for "macro-basic array of structured extemporization," M-Base was developed by altoists Steve Coleman and Greg Osby, tenor saxophonist Gary Thomas, and various other young associates (including singer Cassandra Wilson) in the 1980s. An extension of Ornette Coleman's free funk (although with a greater use of space and dynamics), M-Base often features crowded and noisy ensembles, unpredictable funk rhythms, and an entirely new logic in soloing that owes little to bebop. Although the leaders of M-Base have since gone their separate ways (occasionally regrouping in different combinations), the influence of the music can be heard in the playing of some of the more adventurous young musicians.