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Frank Swart

Frank Swart was born and raised in Boston. He grew up hearing the big band swing records and classic Broadway show albums that were in his parent’s record collection, along with the music that his sister (who was ten years older) listened to including the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Sly and the Family Stone, and Led Zeppelin. He also developed a love for Miles Davis’ 1970s recordings, the spiritual Jazz of John and Alice Coltrane, and the deep soul and blues of Chess and Stax records. After some ungratifying drum lessons, when he was 13, his sister bought him a bass. “I was able to play it immediately, learned some riffs from a guitarist, and was soon practicing eight hours a day.” As a teenager, he worked with rock, blues, and acid funk bands. Very interested in making recordings, Swart rented a recording studio in the basement of a hair salon on the graveyard shift and taught himself how to engineer and produce records.     

After meeting his future wife and deciding to leave Boston, he spent periods living and working in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Nashville where he led the experimental jam band Funkwrench (which is a nickname for a bass). He engineered the first Pixies demos, worked with Patty Griffin off and on for 17 years, recorded with Morphine, produced and performed with cult underground art-rock band Billy Nayer Show, was part of the acid jazz group Junk/Post Junk Trio, was a founding member of the psychedelic electric blues trio SIMO, and recorded and toured with such artists as Norah Jones, The Indigo Girls, John Hiatt, and Buddy Miller.

After settling back in San Francisco in 2017, Swart and publisher-producer Brian Brinkerhoff founded the Need To Know label, Skunkworks Studios, and Funkwrench Blues. Utilizing Swart’s instrumental blues-oriented compositions and such talents as guitarist Rick Kirch (who worked with John Lee Hooker) and a variety of drummers, they have made recordings with over 200 notable artists. A partial list includes Guitar Shorty, Cash McCall, Fareed Haque, Jim Campilongo, John Hammond, Sonny Landreth, John Primer, Albert Lee, Vieux Farke Toure, Mr. Sipp, Tommy Castro, and Duke Robillard but that only hints at the wide variety of performers.


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Album Review

Funkwrench Blues: Soundtrack For A Film Without Pictures

Read "Soundtrack For A Film Without Pictures" reviewed by Chris May


Once upon a time it was hard to walk into an arthouse cinema without bumping into a jazz soundtrack. Miles Davis' for Louis Malle's Ascenseur Pour L'échafaud (1958), Charles Mingus' for John Cassavetes' Shadows (1959), Krzysztof Komeda's for Roman Polanski's Knife In The Water (1962) were among a legion of similarly inclined endeavours. But all that was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. In the 2020s, if you want to hear a freshly ...

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From: Soundtrack For A Film Without...
By Frank Swart

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