Trombonist Steve Swell's latest album is an appealing free jazz set, by turns reflective and raucous. Swell's original compositions are brought to life by the animated playing of his quartet, which includes Sabir Mateen on reeds and flute, Matthew Heyner on bass, and Klaus Kugel on drums.
The opening track of Slammin' the Infinite, "With the Morning, Hope, typifies the approach of the quartet throughout the album. An unaccompanied trombone solo begins the piece, gradually joined by the other instruments. Mateen delivers a darting flute solo over slides and dips and runs in the bass and increasingly free drumming. There's no regular harmonic progression, but the musicians' strong voices keep the listener's attention. The composition's head only appears at the end, when Swell's trombone returns and joins the flute to deliver a calm, measured statement.
Among the other arresting tracks on the album is "East Village Meet and Greet. Conveying the impression of competing conversations in a too-small apartment, it crescendos to a spastic, frenzied pitch, with Mateen wailing in the uppermost range of the clarinet over constant snare drum rolls. "Dresden Art Maneuvers is an eighteen-minute marathon that evolves through different sections. On the head, Swell and Mateen play in unison made dissonant by slightly-off intonation, while Heyner's bowed harmonics are just one of the interesting techniques the bassist uses throughout the album. The title track is another fine Swell composition, with a quirky, repeated Monk-ish theme for tenor and trombone that gives way to a heated Mateen solo.
Track Listing: 1. With the Morning, Hope 2. East Village Meet and Greet 3. Box Set 4. Dresden Art Maneuvers 5. Slammin' the Infinite 6. Voices from the Asphalt 7. For Frank Lowe
Personnel: Steve Swell, trombone; Sabir Mateen, reeds and flute; Matthew Heyner, bass; Klaus Kugel, drums
I was first exposed to Jazz when a couple of dear friends of mine turned me onto it around 1971. I was already into Progressive music, R n' B, Soul, Motown, Latin Rock and other styles that were a great ladder to Jazz
I was first exposed to Jazz when a couple of dear friends of mine turned me onto it around 1971. I was already into Progressive music, R n' B, Soul, Motown, Latin Rock and other styles that were a great ladder to Jazz.
Being a Musician myself, (Lead Guitar/Bass Guitar), I studied at the Dick Grove School of Music with Dick Grove, Jeff Richman and Lee Ritenour. This was around '84-'85. I started playing the Guitar in November 1967. Playing Guitar came quite naturally to me thank goodness. Though I spent hours upon hours practicing while my school buddies were doing Sports.
It was in the early '70s that I really got into Jazz, Jazz Rock, Jazz Fusion and World Music. Seeing Weather Report, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Larry Carlton, Steely Dan, John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, RTF, Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters, VSOP, Freddie Hubbard and so many, many more amazing artists opened my eyes to the beauty and eloquent nature of Jazz. I really love the brilliant ensemble playing that is in Jazz!!
When I play and write music, it blends so many style together. Many fans ask me why my playing sounds so jazzy. It's because I understand Blue Notes, the phrasing, the tonality, time signatures and more. I can also play Rock, Folk, Soul, R n' B and other styles too. I seem to gravitate more and more as I get older to a jazzier style. Currently I'm 62 years old. I have released 2 CDs world-wide. Working on my 3rd.
I also teach Guitar/Bass/Music Theory to my students. They range from 6 years old to much, much older. (I was hired by the City of Aurora, CO to teach ages 6-13 specifically). Currently I teach 41 children in 5 classes. Additionally another 7 private students.
My wife, Meesh, and I love Jazz dearly. It was one of the things that we share together!
Most of the people that I know today do not get jazz. I try to explain what to listen for, but many times the music of Jazz is a bit much for them. So be it.
In a nutshell, I live, breath and listen to Music 24/7. No TV except the Food Channel and Weather.
I love John Kelman's articles. They are so insightful and well-constructed!
Thank you all for doing what you do.