Myths, Modes and Means

Myths, Modes & Means CD Cover

Liner Notes

The Mystic Rhythm Society is dedicated to exploring the structure of the universe and expressing these forms through music. Steve Coleman brought the musicians together in 1994 as a result of a desire to explore the essential ethereal relationships between humanity and creation.

For this special purpose a unique group of people had to be assembled. The musicians, each in their own way, had individually matured to the point of seeing music as a language that is capable of expressing our existence on many levels. The challenge for Steve and the musicians was to unify these varying conceptions under a guiding philosophy and then express these ideas through sound.

It would be pointless to go on about the technical nature of this music as the original inspiration was perceived through vision, and it is the vision that is the point. The main idea is that the universe creates impressions, a kind of imprint, at any given time relative to a given place. The goal of The Mystic Rhythm Society is to capture the essence of these impressions using analogous musical forms and structures, then convey the various feelings, thoughts and experiences of the musicians through musical compositions constructed of specific universal impressions. Most of the compositions were conceived spontaneously within the sonic structures representing these impressions.

This recording represents an initial move in this direction and is sure to influence any subsequent music of Steve Coleman. The lofty goal of the musicians was actually felt and expressed by many members of the audience present during these performances. It is the hope of all present on this recording that you enjoy the music and that you also can experience, through sound, the wonders of unity.


The musicians who participated in these recordings are Steve Coleman (alto saxophone), Ralph Alessi (trumpet), Andy Milne (piano/keyboards), Reggie Washington (bass), Gene Lake (drums), Vijay Iyer (keyboards), Miya Masaoka (koto), Josh Jones (percussion),Ramesh Shotham (Indian percussion), Kokayi (lyricist), Yassir Chadly (vocals, percussion) and Laila (dance).

Track List

  1. Mystic Dub 02:06
  2. Finger Of God 24:37
  3. The Initiate 03:50
  4. Madras 03:43
  5. Song Of The Beginnings 19:16
  6. Numerology 01:42
  7. Transits 20:23


Produced by Steve Coleman
Production Assistant Sophia Wong
Executive Producer Daniel Baumgarten Project
Coordinator Rémi Sommers
Recorded by Alain Cluzeau
Assistant Engineers Christian Desille and Frederic Braun
Mixed by Steve Coleman, Joseph Marciano and Michael Marciano
Photography Jean-Marc Lubrano Design Rebus

Thanks to Jean-Paul Artero and Pierre Walfisz of the Hot Brass Club
Recorded Live at the Hot Brass Club in Paris France March 24 and March 25, 1995
Mixed April 1995 at Systems Two recording studio in Brooklyn, NY
All songs written by Steve Coleman and published by Goemon Publishing Co.(SESAC/GEMA).

Special thanks for the spiritual guidance of Tom Goodwin and Muhal Richard Abrams to whom this recording is dedicated
Steve Coleman plays Vandoren mouthpieces and reeds


This album is part of a trilogy.

Volume 1:
Steve Coleman and The Mystic Rhythm Society
Myths, Modes and Means BMG 74321316922

Volume 2:
Steve Coleman and Metrics
The Way of the Cipher BMG 74321316902

Volume 3:
Steve Coleman and Five Elements
Curves of Life BMG 74321316932

Also available as a box set:
Steve Coleman’s Music
Live at the Hot Brass BMG 74321316912