Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

462

Ron Thomas / John Swana / Joe Mullen: Elysium

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
The sound of Elysium is, in a word, otherworldly. Then throw in the electro-industrial tinge and cold liquid submersion resonance—like the noise of a high tech blacksmith shop on a distant planet with a dense atmosphere and heavier than Earth gravity like Neptune—music of an alien culture, or songs played for cryogenically suspended astronauts slumbering their way across vast expanses of space.

Such are the sounds created by keyboardist Ron Thomas, trumpeter John Swana and drummer Joe Mullen.

Thomas, in acoustic piano outings, is a man of a supple touch with self-proclaimed "deep technical and pragmatic musical ideas" that result in very beautiful and approachable music on discs like House of Counted Days (Vectordisk, 2003), Music in Three Parts (Art of Life, 2006) and Doloroso (Art of Life, 2006). But Thomas and band mate Swana are no strangers to plugging in, with Cycles (Vectordisk, 2007) featuring the same players, same instruments and same sound, but with more of a focus this time around. Pianist Thomas is heard here on synthesizers. Swana uses an EVI, an electronic valve instrument, while Mullen is on acoustic drums that somehow echo with an eerie reverb. With Swana and Thomas, it's hard to tell who is doing what—in an approach that is similar to that of Miles Davis' On the Corner (Columbia Records, 1972), pared down and minus the funk and groove.

Elysium consists of three extended pieces, the titles of which are variants on poem titles from the Tang Dynasty period of Chinese poetry. Whether there is any connection between said poems and the music is anyone's guess. What is certain is that Thomas and company are exploring new ambient territory, and creating an oddly mesmerizing sound.

Track Listing: Winter's Deep; The Wanderer; Emerald Walls.

Personnel: Ron Thomas: keyboards and synthesizers; John Swana: EVI synthesizers; Joe Mullen: percussion.

Title: Elysium | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Vectordisk

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

CD/LP/Track Review
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Duo

Duo

Vectordisc Records
2016

buy
Impatience

Impatience

Vectordisc Records
2015

buy
Two Lonely People

Two Lonely People

Vectordisc Records
2011

buy
Galaxy

Galaxy

Vectordisc Records
2009

buy
Elysium

Elysium

Vectordisk
2009

buy
Blues for Zarathustra

Blues for Zarathustra

Art of Life Records
2008

buy
Date Detail Price
Dec23Sun
10:00 am
Howard Paul Trio
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City
Atlantic City, NJ

Related Articles

Read Without You CD/LP/Track Review
Without You
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 19, 2018
Read Internal Combustion CD/LP/Track Review
Internal Combustion
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 19, 2018
Read Chant Triptych II CD/LP/Track Review
Chant Triptych II
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 19, 2018
Read Oasis CD/LP/Track Review
Oasis
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: December 19, 2018
Read Les Oiseaux de Matisse CD/LP/Track Review
Les Oiseaux de Matisse
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 19, 2018
Read Drum Solos For Dancers Only CD/LP/Track Review
Drum Solos For Dancers Only
by David A. Orthmann
Published: December 18, 2018
Read "Songs from the Alan Lomax Collection" CD/LP/Track Review Songs from the Alan Lomax Collection
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 22, 2018
Read "Seraphic Light [Live At Tufts University]" CD/LP/Track Review Seraphic Light [Live At Tufts University]
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 5, 2018
Read "Wishing On The Moon" CD/LP/Track Review Wishing On The Moon
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 13, 2018
Read "Carpe Diem" CD/LP/Track Review Carpe Diem
by Don Phipps
Published: March 19, 2018
Read "Across The Bridge" CD/LP/Track Review Across The Bridge
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 30, 2018
Read "Happy Fire - New Kind of Jazz" CD/LP/Track Review Happy Fire - New Kind of Jazz
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 16, 2018