All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 (or more) and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help

396

Steve Swell's Rivers of Sound Ensemble: News from the Mystic Auricle

Jeff Stockton By
Published:
Sign in to view read count
Steve Swell's Rivers of Sound Ensemble: News from the Mystic Auricle Journeys. Greek religious artifacts. Oracles that send into the mystic. Trombonist Steve Swell and his Rivers of Sound Ensemble direct its stream-of- consciousness improvisations toward the deepest sea of musical inspiration it can find.

Swell's Slammin' the Infinite piano-less quartet has been expanded before—on Live @ the Vision Festival (Not Two, 2007), when joined by pianist John Blum—but the band retained the essence of its swinging inside/out approach. On this date, trumpeter Roy Campbell joins the frontline and the name of the band has changed along with the bassist. As Downtown veteran Hilliard Greene replaces Matt Heyner, the melodies evaporate and the rhythms grow more attenuated. Greene is a monster pizzicato player and his presence on any date is a mark of quality, but on News from the Mystic Auricle it's his arco playing that sets the mood and tone on the three long improvisations offered.

Campbell's lines sound as if they follow from the introspective, questing style best presented on 2008's Akhenaten Suite (AUM Fidelity, 2008), where the process of music-making is more to the point than merely arriving at an end. Sabir Mateen is his usual fiery self on tenor and alto, and then turns reflective on flute and clarinet. Swell, as usual, prefers to play in his bands as an equal, enabling each horn to follow its own path.

With the horns coming together and cleaving apart in a continuous seamless flow and Greene's strings squealing under his bow, it's Klaus Kugel's tireless drumming that tethers Campbell, Swell and Mateen to the ground. Every journey requires a driving force and in the Rivers of Sound Ensemble, Kugel is the engine that keeps it going.


Track Listing: Journey to Omphalos; Healix; News From the Mystic Auricle.

Personnel: Roy Campbell: trumpet, flugelhorn; Sabir Mateen: tenor saxophone, flute, alto clarinet, alto saxophone; Steve Swell: trombone; Hilliard Greene: bass; Klaus Kugel: drums.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Not Two Records | Style: Free Improv/Avant-Garde


Shop For Jazz

CD/LP/Track Review
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Multiple Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Kanreki: Reflection & Renewal
Kanreki: Reflection &...
Not Two Records
2016
buy
Estuaries
Estuaries
Den Records
2013
buy
5000 Poems
5000 Poems
Not Two Records
2010
buy
Steve Swell's Slammin' The Infinite
Steve Swell's...
Not Two Records
2010
buy
Planet Dream
Planet Dream
hat ART
2009
buy
News from the Mystic Auricle
News from the Mystic...
Not Two Records
2009
buy
William Parker William Parker
bass, acoustic
Steve Lacy Steve Lacy
sax, soprano
Herb Robertson Herb Robertson
trumpet
Ken Vandermark Ken Vandermark
saxophone
Roswell Rudd Roswell Rudd
trombone

More Articles

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.