Learn How

Help improve All About Jazz

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. For $20, we'll hide those pesky Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

342

Steve Swell's Slammin' The Infinite: 5000 Poems

John Sharpe By

Sign in to view read count
Steve Swell's Slammin' The Infinite: 5000 Poems There was a time when the addition of a chordal instrument such as piano to a horn-led free jazz quartet would have been viewed as a nod to the mainstream. But not the case now and especially not when the pianist in question is John Blum and the group is trombonist Steve Swell's Slammin' The Infinite. Underground legend Blum stays on board for their fourth outing after his guest appearance on Live At The Vision Festival (Not Two, 2008) and it pays dividends.

Although a studio date, the fulsome 76-minute playing time permits a stretching out as if in performance. Part of Slammin's appeal lies in the trademark simultaneous blowing by Sabir Mateen's mellifluous reeds, ever ready to spiral beyond the treble clef into stratospheric falsetto, and the leader's rough-hewn yet finely nuanced trombone, bolstered now by Blum's careening piano. Even when not soloing the pianist's controlled abandon demands attention. On bass, Matt Heyner breathes life into riffs, quickly deconstructed once ingrained on the listener's consciousness and plots more abstract musings with bow in hand while drummer Klaus Kugel drives the ensembles yet also explores texture, as in his shimmering feature on "The Darkness Afoot."

In its round of solos, "Not Their Kind" introduces the band, with Mateen's opening foray, forged from concentrated tonal distortions, culminating in a dog-bothering whistle, a particular statement of intent. Notwithstanding Swell's punchy heads, "The Only Way...Out" could almost act as their manifesto: freeform ensembles spawning tension and release via energetic outpourings until a cathartic resolution. Further quicksilver interplay is everywhere: framed by the buoyant counterpoint of the two "Sketches" while "My Myth Of Perfection" contrasts dark mournful voicings with slow burning passion.

The album title alludes to a Walt Whitman essay suggesting that great art comes through perseverance, but, in fact, Swell's success rate is consistently high and with 5000 Poems the trombonist smashes another home run.


Track Listing: Not Their Kind; Sketch 1; Where Are The Heartfelt?; My Myth Of Perfection; The Only Way....Out; Sketch 2; The Darkness Afoot.

Personnel: Steve Swell: trombone; Sabir Mateen: flute, clarinet, alto clarinet, alto and tenor saxophones; John Blum: piano; Matt Heyner: bass; Klaus Kugel: drums.

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Not Two Records | Style: Free Improv/Avant-Garde


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read #knowingishalfthebattle CD/LP/Track Review #knowingishalfthebattle
by Mark F. Turner
Published: January 23, 2017
Read Live In Brooklyn CD/LP/Track Review Live In Brooklyn
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 23, 2017
Read King Of Xhosa CD/LP/Track Review King Of Xhosa
by James Nadal
Published: January 23, 2017
Read Blooming Tall Phlox CD/LP/Track Review Blooming Tall Phlox
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 23, 2017
Read Hear & Now CD/LP/Track Review Hear & Now
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 22, 2017
Read Known-Unknown CD/LP/Track Review Known-Unknown
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: January 22, 2017
Read "Ed Calle 360" CD/LP/Track Review Ed Calle 360
by Edward Blanco
Published: July 17, 2016
Read "Hidden Voices" CD/LP/Track Review Hidden Voices
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 26, 2016
Read "Flow" CD/LP/Track Review Flow
by Budd Kopman
Published: July 9, 2016
Read "The Magnificent Thad Jones" CD/LP/Track Review The Magnificent Thad Jones
by Greg Simmons
Published: November 10, 2016
Read "With Due Respect" CD/LP/Track Review With Due Respect
by Chris Mosey
Published: June 23, 2016
Read "Ghosts Appearing Through The Sound" CD/LP/Track Review Ghosts Appearing Through The Sound
by Tyran Grillo
Published: April 27, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Get Jazz Near You via email!

Enjoy the convenience of receiving a comprehensive listing of jazz events in your area every Thursday. It's free!