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Steve Swell: Appreciating the Avant Garde Today

Read "Steve Swell: Appreciating the Avant Garde Today" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6[This is the third of an All About Jazz series of interviews and articles on “The Many Faces of Jazz Today: Critical Dialogues" in which we explore the current state of jazz around the world with musicians, journalists, and entrepreneurs who give us their own unique perspectives. In the first interview of the series, saxophonist Bobby Zankel spoke about his efforts to ...


Steve Swell: Kanreki: Reflection & Renewal

Read "Kanreki: Reflection & Renewal" reviewed by John Sharpe

To mark his sixtieth birthday (December 6, 2014), trombonist Steve Swell, long the pre-eminent trombonist on the NYC free jazz scene, invokes the Japanese custom of Kanreki. Although it is said to signal both a rebirth and a handing on of responsibilities, Swell shows no signs of allowing the occasion to inhibit his ambition. Over the course of two discs, Not Two proffers a broad survey of recent outlets for his expression, encompassing seven distinct line ups recorded between 2011 ...


Steve Swell: Unlimited Musical Possibilities

Read "Steve Swell: Unlimited Musical Possibilities" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

"Free Jazz" and “Avant-Garde Jazz" are catch phrases often associated with musical pioneers such as Ornette Coleman and Cecil Taylor but more broadly refer to music that goes outside of the mainstream of melody, harmony, rhythm, and structure. When that happens, opinions and emotions abound. Reactions vary from disgust to excitement and enthusiasm, and it is rare to find a balanced view on the subject. The question arises, why does the same music so strongly attract and repel? To seek ...


Steve Swell: Steve Swell's Slammin' The Infinite

Read "Steve Swell's Slammin' The Infinite" reviewed by Raul d'Gama Rose

Using something that Walt Whitman said about prolific writing, trombonist Steve Swell posits that the more he creates--the more he writes and therefore performs--the more likely he is to produce something worthwhile. Although he does not mention it, this also suggests pushing the boundaries and being nonjudgmental about any of his work until he arrives at something of substantive value. What this might be is impossible to predict, until it is actually created and performed, and the response to it ...


Steve Swell: Sound Miracles

Read "Steve Swell: Sound Miracles" reviewed by Gordon Marshall

Trombonist Steve Swell captures the energy of a big band in the close quarters of a small group. An alumnus of Buddy Rich's and Lionel Hampton's bands on the one hand, and collaborator with Anthony Braxton on the other, he seems bound to have fixed upon such a hybrid configuration at some point. But how an artist could exhibit such stylistic range and adaptability to begin with, and on top of that reconcile them in a career that has already ...


Steve Swell's Slammin' The Infinite: 5000 Poems

Read "5000 Poems" reviewed by John Sharpe

There was a time when the addition of a chordal instrument such as piano to a horn-led free jazz quartet would have been viewed as a nod to the mainstream. But not the case now and especially not when the pianist in question is John Blum and the group is trombonist Steve Swell's Slammin' The Infinite. Underground legend Blum stays on board for their fourth outing after his guest appearance on Live At The Vision Festival (Not Two, 2008) and ...


Steve Swell: Magical Listening Hour & Planet Dream

Read "Steve Swell: Magical Listening Hour & Planet Dream" reviewed by Wilbur MacKenzie

Magical Listening HourLive @ Southstreet SeaportCadence Jazz Records2009 Steve SwellPlanet DreamClean Feed2009 While these two new discs from trombonist Steve Swell may exhibit elements of contrasting methodology, at the root of both projects is a somewhat utopian idealism, wherein humanity's collective process of identifying with sound leads us closer to more harmonious coexistence.


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

Read "News from the Mystic Auricle" reviewed by Jeff Stockton

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 ...


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

Read "Rivers of Sound Ensemble: News from the Mystic Auricle" reviewed by John Sharpe

Steve Swell’s third release on the Polish NotTwo label moves the trombonist into new, though not entirely unfamiliar territory. On this occasion, his regular Slammin’ the Infinite band has expanded with the addition of trumpeter Roy Campbell to become the Rivers of Sound Ensemble. Hilliard Greene, who plays in Swell’s quartet with Gebhard Ullmann, takes over the bass chair from Matt Heyner, with drummer Klaus Kugel and reed maestro Sabir Mateen as holdovers.

More significant though is Swell’s dispensation with ...


Steve Swell: Swimming In A Galaxy Of Goodwill And Sorrow and Live @ The Vision Festival

Read "Steve Swell: Swimming In A Galaxy Of Goodwill And Sorrow and Live @ The Vision Festival" reviewed by John Sharpe

Trombonist Steve Swell was on a roll in midsummer 2006, as evidenced on the two discs at hand. June 15 found him in the studio with his Fire Into Music agglomeration, featuring saxophonist Jemeel Moondoc, drummer Hamid Drake and bassist William Parker. Two days later, Swell's other working ensemble, Slammin' The Infinite, stormed the year's Vision Festival with a widely acclaimed set. Steve Swell's Fire Into Music Swimming In A Galaxy Of Goodwill And Sorrow


Steve Swell: Three Sides of the Same Coin

Read "Steve Swell: Three Sides of the Same Coin" reviewed by Jeff Stockton

Steve Swell's Fire Into Music Swimming in a Galaxy of Goodwill and Sorrow Rogue Art 2007 Steve Swell's Slammin' the Infinite Live @ the Vision Festival Not Two 2007 The Magical Listening Hour Live @ the South Street Seaport s/r 2007

Once Picasso ...


Steve Swell: Double Diploid & Live at the Bowery Poetry Club

Read "Steve Swell: Double Diploid & Live at the Bowery Poetry Club" reviewed by Jim Santella

Steve Swell · David Taylor Quartet Double Diploid CIMP 2007 Steve Swell's Nation of We Live at the Bowery Poetry Club Ayler Records 2007

Steve Swell exhibits the unique power of his instrument on these two albums of creative, avant-garde music. Since jazz was in its infancy, the trombone has remained unique due ...

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