Dave Sewelson: More Music for a Free World

Troy Dostert By

Sign in to view read count
Dave Sewelson: More Music for a Free World
While baritone saxophonist Dave Sewelson may not be as widely-recognized as those whose company he regularly keeps, this long-standing veteran of William Parker's Little Huey Orchestra and the Microscopic Sextet has long been a force in wielding his weighty axe, lending lower-end punch with vigor and dexterity for several decades. Here he's reunited with Parker, drummer Marvin Bugalu Smith and trombonist Steve Swell for a follow-up to a recording from 2018, Music for a Free World (FMR Records). Like its predecessor, More Music for a Free World offers plenty of engaging free-bop, played with fortitude and fluidity by four masters of the genre.

With only three tracks, and two coming in at over twenty minutes in length, the band puts a premium on the enticing dialogue which emerges between Sewelson and Swell, both of whom possess an intuitive anticipation of each other's contributions. Swirling, intertwined phrases or jaunty, punctuated interjections abound as the two bob and weave in close rapport. Swell's big and brash sound blends perfectly with Sewelson's feisty pugnacity, as the two have some delightfully robust exchanges on the first cut, "Memories." But without Parker's rhythmically supple support and Smith's open-ended shifting pulses, the music would lose a lot of its power. Smith can swing in a dozen different ways, and Parker's propensity to stretch the music in multiple directions allows Sewelson and Swell maximum liberty to extend their conversation in whatever way they see fit.

Although, at almost thirty minutes, the second piece, "Dreams," does risk losing its momentum in places, there is no denying the impressive range which both Sewelson and Swell bring to their respective horns. Swell's rapid-fire phrasing is inventive and arresting, while Sewelson reveals little difficulty in matching or shadowing his steady barrage of notes. And his tenacious overblowing is as ferocious as one would expect. But it is on the closing cut, "Reflections," that he demonstrates his facility to the fullest, with deep, soulful low-end musings which alternate with some remarkable upper-register excursions.

There is little mystery why Sewelson has been such a valued sideman over the years; it is only fitting that he gets another opportunity to put his own name at the top of a disc, and with such terrific partners as well.

Track Listing

Memories; Dreams; Reflections.


Dave Sewelson: saxophone, alto; Steve Swell: trombone; William Parker: bass; Marvin Bugalu Smith: drums.

Album information

Title: More Music for a Free World | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Mahakala Music

Post a comment about this album



Shop Amazon


Live in Hawaii
Doug MacDonald
Lost in a Dream
Kristin Callahan
The Painter
Tobias Meinhart
Monaco, Meurkens, Hoyson, Lucas
J. Peter Schwalm / Markus Reuter
Cool With That
East Axis


All About Jazz needs your support

All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings 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 step that will help musicians and venues 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 sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.