The fascinating thing about this album is that trombonist Steve Swell, ostensibly the leader of the Fire Into Music Quartet with saxophonist Jemeel Moondoc, bassist William Parker and drummer Hamid Drake, didn't know this record (an LP) was being made until he received a copy. Business issues subsequently were worked out and the release is official but the backwards methodology might actually have worked in the group's favor.
Knowing a record is being recorded for release, particularly in the realm of the avant-garde, may and has resulted in some stilted albums, sadly unrepresentative of a group's ability. Not so here. There is no trace of self-consciousness or music that sounds like it was produced ultimately to be sold. Instead, the two side-length tunes (one each by Moondoc and Swell) are warm and inviting, lovingly capturing a live moment with an effectiveness not often found.
And since Swell and company were just playing (at Ballroom Marfa in Texas in October of 2004), the record is organic rather than being highly stylized or egocentric. Despite the progressive pedigree of the four musicians, they also happen to be thankfully some of the more rhythmic, melodically inclined folks of that scene so rather than the expected squawkfest, the listener is regaled with percolating post bop, propelled by the gooey rhythm section of Parker and Drake. A delicious, if somewhat roundabout surprise.
Jemeel Moondoc: sax; William Parker: bass; Hamid Drake: drums; Steve Swell: trombone.
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.
Get more of a good thing
Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.