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Bill Stewart: Incandescence (2008)

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Bill Stewart: Incandescence How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Funk and jazz drummer Bill Stewart brings an unusual format to this effort. The use of piano and Hammond organ completes his trio, with Stewart offering a series of challenging compositions. Incandescence is indeed an appropriate title for the album, as it exudes a glowing-with-heat ambiance.

Stewart's long stretch with guitarist John Scofield's group provides a basis for his heavy funk drumming, and his choice of associates reflects it. Larry Goldings has risen to near the top of today's jazz organists and, in fact, Stewart has been a member of the organist's own group (along with guitarist Peter Bernstein) for several albums on Palmetto Records. Pianist Kevin Hays, regarded as a young lion during the mid-1990s with his three Blue Note and three Steeplechase albums, completes the Incandescence trio.

Musically, Stewart's nine original compositions offer a wide variety. For the opening up-tempo "Knock on My Door" and the more relaxed "Toad," the drummer shows his timekeeping skills as counter-posed with the keyboards. On "Portals Opening," Stewart plays aggressively against a much less intense ensemble, which culminates in the take-no-prisoners "Opening Portals."

A total change of pace occurs with "See Ya," as Goldings takes up the accordion and plays with a "banks-of-the-Seine" atmosphere against Hays' comped chords. "Metallurgy" is a drum solo and more—the piece concludes with Goldings' eerie notes to give this an electronica-like touch.

The final statement is the title track, which lives up to its definition. All hands get a chance to speak their minds, and report that they'll be back for more.


Track Listing: Knock on My Door; Toad; Portals Opening; Opening Portals; See Ya; Four Hand Job; Tell a Televangelist; Metallurgy; Incandescence.

Personnel: Bill Stewart: drums; Larry Goldings: Hammond organ, accordion; Kevin Hays: piano.

Record Label: Pirouet Records

Style: Funk/Groove


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