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Bill Stewart

Percussionist Bill Stewart made his name as the rhythmic force behind guitarist John Scofield 's band, working with him for five years between 1990 and 1995. Self-taught on drums, Stewart is also a capable pianist, the instrument on which he composes. He grew up listening to his parents' jazz and R&B record collection, but otherwise jazz was a rare commodity in Iowa in the 70s and he played in a Top 40 covers band in high school as well as the school orchestra.

After graduating he enrolled at the University Of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, playing in the jazz and marching bands as well as the orchestra. He then transferred to college in Wayne, New Jersey, where he studied with Dave Samuels, Rufus Reid and Harold Mabern. It was here that he met future collaborator, saxophonist Joe Lovano. While still in college he made his recording debut with saxophonist Scott Kreitzer and recorded two further collections with pianist Armen Donelian. After graduation in 1988 he moved to Brooklyn, New York, where he set up home. There he began the slow process of establishing his reputation by regular appearances at jam sessions and by word of mouth, leading to his first gigs with the Larry Goldings trio.

At one of their regular sessions at Augie's Club in Manhattan, Maceo Parker attended and invited him to contribute to a forthcoming recording date (for Roots Revisited ). Afterwards he was invited to join Scofield's band, which also included Lovano, who has featured on both of Stewart's solo albums to date. The first, Think Before You Think, was issued on the Japanese label Jazz City and featured Dave Holland on bass and Marc Copland on piano in addition to Lovano. The second, Snide Remarks, featured pianist Bill Carrothers, trumpeter Eddie Henderson and bassist Larry Grenadier. This boasted nine original Stewart compositions, highlighting a sophisticated compositional technique that Lovano once analogized as being that of 'a melody player within the concept of rhythm'.

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Liner Notes

Lage Lund: Idlewild

Read "Lage Lund: Idlewild" reviewed by C. Andrew Hovan


An open and revealing format for any artist, the jazz trio offers rewards on many levels. Left in veracious hands, there is a spacious pocket that can be filled by any number of rhythmic and harmonic ideas, not to mention a freedom in melodic phrases which don't have to be constrained by strict chordal structures. On the other hand, it is the mere vulnerability of the format that can challenge all but the most seasoned musicians. With its ...

Album Review

John Scofield: Uncle John's Band

Read "Uncle John's Band" reviewed by Mario Calvitti


Dopo la parentesi del primo disco realizzato in completa solitudine, il chitarrista John Scofield torna alla formazione per lui più abituale del trio, ma non lo stesso con cui aveva inciso Swallow Tales sempre per la label tedesca. Al posto di Steve Swallow troviamo infatti il contrabbassista Vicente Archer, mentre alla batteria siede nuovamente il fido Bill Stewart. È una nuova formazione per Scofield, anche se i tre insieme al pianista e organista Gerald Clayton avevano registrato Combo 66 nel ...

19
Album Review

John Scofield: Uncle John's Band

Read "Uncle John's Band" reviewed by Ian Patterson


John Scofield's entire oeuvre can be roughly divided into groove-based or straight-ahead recordings. Yet even in maximum groove propulsion, as on A Go Go (Verve, 1998), to cite one stellar example, Scofield's grounding in straight-ahead jazz is never far from the surface. On the flip side, his most conventional jazz is always rhythmically vital. Uncle John's Band, the guitarist's third ECM album as leader, following Swallow Tales (2020) and John Scofield (2022), falls squarely in the latter category. And it ...

20
Album Review

John Scofield: Uncle John's Band

Read "Uncle John's Band" reviewed by Neil Duggan


Phil Lesh, Grateful Dead's bassist for over 30 years, claimed their basic inspiration came from the musical unions he saw in the Miles Davis Quartet along with the John Coltrane Quartet from the early 1960s. John Scofield and Lesh have played together on many occasions. So perhaps it is no surprise that the Grateful Dead anthem, “Uncle John's Band," written by guitarist Jerry Garcia and lyricist Robert Hunter, originally released on their album, Workingman's Dead (Warner Bros. 1970), should serve ...

2
Liner Notes

Lage Lund: Idlewild

Read "Lage Lund: Idlewild" reviewed by C. Andrew Hovan


An open and revealing format for any artist, the jazz trio offers rewards on many levels. Left in veracious hands, there is a spacious pocket that can be filled by any number of rhythmic and harmonic ideas, not to mention a freedom in melodic phrases which don't have to be constrained by strict chordal structures. On the other hand, it is the mere vulnerability of the format that can challenge all but the most seasoned musicians. With its ...

5
Album Review

Vicente Archer: Short Stories

Read "Short Stories" reviewed by Mike Jurkovic


Bassist Vicente Archer may be a Grammy winner with a long grand vintage (Nicholas Payton, John Scofield, Kenny Garrett, Norah Jones) but he has not revealed his own particular harvest as he does on the amicable and resilient Short Stories. Accompanied on what is technically his debut, fellow Scofield and Payton alum, drummer Bill Stewart and ever curious pianist Gerald Clayton bring to these stories a captivating, unified narrative. The soft, insistent tannins of “Mirai" opens Short Stories ...

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Liner Notes

Seamus Blake: Bellwether

Read "Seamus Blake: Bellwether" reviewed by C. Andrew Hovan


The music speaks for itself. This timeworn axiom has often served as a suggestion that there's an intangible aspect to music's universal language that is somehow beyond mere words. In some cases this may be true, but on the other hand, this outlook has occasionally in the past served as a viable excuse for justifying music of a somewhat dubious nature.In recently talking with saxophonist Seamus Blake by phone from Vancouver, it occurred to me that his “less ...

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Concerts

Music

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

The Contrapuntist

Sunnyside Records
2023

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Listen!

Sunnyside Records
2023

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Short Stories

Cellar Live
2023

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Uncle John's Band

ECM Records
2023

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Perpetual Pendulum

Smoke Sessions Records
2022

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Jackpot

Cellar Live
2022

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Uncle John's Band

From: Uncle John's Band
By Bill Stewart

Two Islands III

From: Atwood Suites
By Bill Stewart

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