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ALBUM REVIEWS

John Swana / Tim Motzer / Doug Hirlinger: Channels

Read "Channels" reviewed by Geno Thackara

It's a jungle in here. The atmosphere is thick and close, even when things are still. Strange creatures keep flitting through the trees and rustling the bushes. The air never stays quiet for very long amidst the eerie calls of strange birds. The here in this case is a landscape that is imaginary, but that makes it no less vivid, exotic and just occasionally hair-raising. The opening “Lost" makes being lost seem as fascinating as it is unnerving; ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

John Swana: Bright Moments

Read "Bright Moments" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

Simply put, this album is so listenable and stood out so noticeably among the many CDs I've been spinning for myself recently, that I thought All About Jazz readers ought to know about it. I first heard then trumpeter John Swana a decade or more ago when he jammed at pianist Tom Lawton's memorable long-term gig with the late great bassist Al Stauffer at the Four Seasons Hotel in Philadelphia. I was awestruck by Swana's clarity, sustained non-vibrato tone, and ...

LIVE REVIEWS

The Larry McKenna and John Swana Organ Quartet at Chris’ Jazz Café

Read "The Larry McKenna and John Swana Organ Quartet at Chris’ Jazz Café" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

The Larry McKenna and John Swana Organ Quartet Chris' Jazz Café Philadelphia, PA

ALBUM REVIEWS

John Swana & The Philadelphians: Philly Gumbo Vol. 2

Read "Philly Gumbo Vol. 2" reviewed by David A. Orthmann

The sequel to a memorable 2001 release, Philly Gumbo Vol. 2 consists of pleasurable hard bop by John Swana and a band of mainstays from the fertile Philadelphia jazz scene. Despite the familiar stylistic trappings, the music stands up to repeat listening for several reasons. The original material (nine of ten tracks) transcends the tired, derivative tunes often written in homage to masters of the genre. Swana's compositions, especially “Sid's Dilemma, “Three Of A Kind, and “Quasimodo's Uncle, are catchy ...

INTERVIEWS

Trumpeter John Swana

Read "Trumpeter John Swana" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

In addition to being one of the finest contemporary jazz trumpet players, John Swana is a human being who is spontaneously authentic and refuses to play a false role. Having reached the ripe old age of 38, John has performed side by side with many fabulous musicians, from Benny Golson to Tom Harrell, to Chris Potter, and a myriad of others whose names connote excellence in jazz. A consummate musician whose playing always attracts your attention for its straightforward solidity, ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

John Swana and The Philadelphians: Philly Gumbo

Read "Philly Gumbo" reviewed by David A. Orthmann

During a decade long association with the Criss Cross imprint, John Swana has produced an impressive aggregate of achievement, 15 discs in all, as a leader or featured sideman. On his own records, Swana usually adheres to the label's practice of utilizing a select pool of New York area musicians, ranging from young firebrands like Eric Alexander and Chris Potter, to respected veterans such as Kenny Barron and Mulgrew Miller. For his latest release,Philly Gumbo, the trumpeter alters the pattern ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

John Swana and The Philadelphians: Philly Gumbo

Read "Philly Gumbo" reviewed by David A. Orthmann

During a decade long association with the Criss Cross imprint, John Swana has produced an impressive aggregate of achievement, 15 discs in all, as a leader or featured sideman. On his own records, Swana usually adheres to the label's practice of utilizing a select pool of New York area musicians, ranging from young firebrands like Eric Alexander and Chris Potter, to respected veterans such as Kenny Barron and Mulgrew Miller. For his latest release,Philly Gumbo, the trumpeter alters the pattern ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

John Swana/Joe Magnarelli: Philly-New York Junction

Read "Philly-New York Junction" reviewed by C. Andrew Hovan

Trumpeters John Swana and Joe Magnarelli are of a new generation of players who aren't as well known as a Roy Hargrove or Nicholas Payton but who nonetheless have much to say in terms of advancing the role of the trumpet in jazz. Swana, hails from Philadelphia and has been a Criss Cross veteran for the past several years (this latest effort is his fifth overall for the label), while New Yorker Magnarelli works the pit bands, teaches, and is ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

John Swana: Tug of War

Read "Tug of War" reviewed by C. Andrew Hovan

The only reason that thirty-something trumpeter John Swana is not a more recognized jazz artist is due to the fact that he refuses to move to New York and instead keeps his hometown scene of Philadelphia healthy and vibrant. Fortunately for us, Criss Cross Jazz knew a good thing when they heard it and over the course of five previous albums Swana has validated his talents as a one of the jazz world's finest mainstream trumpeters.

In many ways, Tug ...


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