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Album Review

Shawn Maxwell: Expectation & Experience

Read "Expectation & Experience" reviewed by Jack Bowers


On Expectation & Experience, his tenth recording as a leader, Chicago-based woodwind specialist Shawn Maxwell is accompanied by almost thirty musicians—but never by more than three on any of its seventeen tracks. Maxwell says the compositions were written during the global Covid-19 pandemic, and the musicians were mustered singly, most in their own homes. While each of the compositions has a “theme," none is readily apparent from its performance, and listeners should feel free to overlook that aspect and focus ...

1

Album Review

Shawn Maxwell's New Tomorrow: Music in My Mind

Read "Music in My Mind" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan


After a series of well-received mainstream recordings, Chicago-based alto saxophonist Shawn Maxwell moved into a “taking more chances" mode with Shawn Maxwell's New Tomorrow (OA2 Records, 2016). Much of the sound there fell into the exploratory, even avant-garde area. He delves further into that territory with Music In My Mind. With albums titled Originals (Self Produced, 2006) and Originals II (Self Produced, 2008) opening up his recorded resume, it's no stretch to say that Maxwell's focus is zeroed ...

7

Album Review

Shawn Maxwell's New Tomorrow: Shawn Maxwell's New Tomorrow

Read "Shawn Maxwell's New Tomorrow" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan


Chicago-based saxophonist Shawn Maxwell has produced an excellent run of straight ahead CD releases in the past decade, sets like his two self-produced discs, Originals (2006) and Originals II (2008), and Maxwell's House (Chicago Session LTD, 2010) before he changed his game up with Shawn Maxwell's Alliance (Chicago Sessions LTD, 2015), a shift away from mainstream quartet--sax and rhythm section--to a walk-on-the-mini-big-band wild side, with a group that includes French horns, vibes, a vocalist and additional saxophones. So what about ...

5

Album Review

Shawn Maxwell: Shawn Maxwell's Alliance

Read "Shawn Maxwell's Alliance" reviewed by Ben Scholz


Fronted by an already well-established jny:Chicago area saxophonist, the Shawn Maxwell Alliance expands the concept of what a mixed ensemble can accomplish in the jazz realm. This debut album features a sprawling list of modern jazz composers and leaders including another jny:Chicago saxophonist, Chris Greene, vocalist Keri Johnsrud, vibraphonist Stephen Lynerd, and bassist Stacy McMichael. The group is augmented with a collection of featured players including guitarist Mitch Corso, double bassist Marc Piane, drummer Paul Townsend and Rachel Maxwell and ...

5

Album Review

Shawn Maxwell's Alliance: Bridge

Read "Bridge" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky


The eponymous debut from Shawn Maxwell's Alliance was a giant step forward for the saxophonist/composer; his previous albums all had musical merit, but all were built with limited color schemes, hewing, for the most part, to jazz norms. With Shawn Maxwell's Alliance (Chicago Sessions, 2014), Maxwell stepped way outside the box, writing music for a dectet that was anything but formulaic or commonplace. Now, less than a year later, Shawn Maxwell's Alliance returns with the shorter, but no less intriguing, ...

2

Album Review

Shawn Maxwell: Shawn Maxwell's Alliance

Read "Shawn Maxwell's Alliance" reviewed by Hrayr Attarian


Woodwind player and composer Shawn Maxwell's Shawn Maxwell's Alliance on the Chicago Sessions label is a carefully orchestrated suite with a subtle yet distinct dramatic sense. Although the description in the liner notes makes mention of a group of friends experimenting with new styles and sounds the disc is not a blowing date nor it is meant to be one. The fantastical “Iynes Crayons" opens with a stately, almost baroque theatricality as French horn players Rachel Maxwell and ...

3

Album Review

Shawn Maxwell: Shawn Maxwell's Alliance

Read "Shawn Maxwell's Alliance" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky


In the liner notes for Shawn Maxwell's Alliance, the Chicago-based multi-reedist is transparent as can be. He makes note of the fact that this project was born out of a conscious desire to do something different and pull away from the commonplace quartet and quintet formats that are so prevalent today. He also notes that he initially had no intention of recording this group, and that some of these numbers are “sketches," not fully fleshed out compositions. ...


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