396

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

Jeff Stockton By

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

More Articles

Read On A Monday Evening CD/LP/Track Review On A Monday Evening
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 22, 2017
Read Soulmation CD/LP/Track Review Soulmation
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 22, 2017
Read Feather CD/LP/Track Review Feather
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 22, 2017
Read Lookin' East CD/LP/Track Review Lookin' East
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 22, 2017
Read The Voice of Robert Desnos CD/LP/Track Review The Voice of Robert Desnos
by Geannine Reid
Published: April 22, 2017
Read The Dreamer Is the Dream CD/LP/Track Review The Dreamer Is the Dream
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 21, 2017
Read "B3tles: A Soulful Tribute To The Fab Four" CD/LP/Track Review B3tles: A Soulful Tribute To The Fab Four
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 6, 2017
Read "Journey To The Heart" CD/LP/Track Review Journey To The Heart
by Jeff Winbush
Published: August 12, 2016
Read "Jazz Jukebox" CD/LP/Track Review Jazz Jukebox
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: November 24, 2016
Read "In Hollywood, 1971" CD/LP/Track Review In Hollywood, 1971
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 18, 2016
Read "A Night Walking Through Mirrors" CD/LP/Track Review A Night Walking Through Mirrors
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 20, 2017
Read "Dare to Be" CD/LP/Track Review Dare to Be
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: August 8, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!