The Strata Institute is a name for what was essentially the M-Base All-Stars, an umbrella group that matched together many of the young players in the late '80s who were playing free funk, including most notably Steve Coleman and Greg Osby. They recorded Cipher Syntax in 1988 for JMT and Transmigration for DIW/Columbia in 1992. The other players on the first date were guitarist David Gilmore, bassist Bob Hurst, and either Tani Tabbal or Marvin "Smitty" Smith on drums, while the second outing had bassist Kenny Davis in Hurst's spot and was a tribute to the adventurous veteran tenor Von Freeman, who made the group a sextet. At the same time as their second release, the Strata Institute (under the name of the M-Base Collective) recorded Anatomy of a Groove (also for DIW/Columbia). However, by the mid-'90s, Steve Coleman and Greg Osby were involved in other projects and the Strata Institute had slipped into history. ~ Scott Yanow

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