Home » Jazz Articles » Album Review » Stephan Crump: Slow Water


Stephan Crump: Slow Water

Stephan Crump: Slow Water
Bassist-composer Stephan Crump's sonic odyssey Slow Water is a profound exploration of the essence and myriad forms of water. It goes beyond merely depicting its physical flow; rather, it delves into the symbolic and existential significances that water holds. This project emerges as a creative masterwork, reflecting Crump's deep contemplation of humanity's intricate relationship with this elemental force. Inspired by a lifetime of individual experiences and societal observations, Crump crafts an album that is both thought-provoking and sonically captivating.

The presentation unfolds as a single continuous 67-minute composition, performed by an exceptional sextet. With such forward-thinking musicians as Patricia Brennan on vibraphone, Jacob Garchik on trombone, Kenny Warren on trumpet, Joanna Mattrey on viola and Yuniya Edi Kwon on violin, alongside Crump himself on acoustic bass, this ensemble pushes the boundaries of jazz into new domains.

Slow Water draws influence from Erica Gies' book, Water Always Wins (University of Chicago, 2022). This thematic foundation permeates the entire project as Crump translates the fluidity, power and persistence of water into musical motifs and narratives. The compositions blend through-composed pieces with spontaneous improvisations, reflecting water's various states—liquid, solid and vapor. The result is a dynamic listening experience that mirrors the natural rhythms and patterns of water.

Tracks like "Eager" and "Euphotic" highlight the ensemble's versatility, from relaxed vibes to energetic bursts, each piece painting vivid imagery of water's serene and tumultuous aspects. Moments of introspective calm alternate with intense, flowing energy, echoing the cyclical nature of water and its vital role in sustaining life. For instance, "Fen" transports listeners to a tranquil pond with ethereal overtones, while "Sediment and Flow" shifts from a fast-paced free-form dialogue to a meditative crawl and sophisticated choruses guided by Crump's poignant bass lines.

This album marks a significant milestone in Crump's career, demonstrating his ability to seamlessly blend jazz and chamber music with elements of science and philosophy. It reaffirms his status as a visionary artist who can convey profound themes through the medium of sound. Slow Water serves as a testament to the power of creative music to evoke thought, inspire change and celebrate the intrinsic beauty of the natural world.

Track Listing

Sound (Brackish); Bogged; Strata; Eager; Hyporheic; Dusk Critters; Accrete; Mire; Pneumatophore; Euphotic; Fen; Pooling; Sediment and Flow; Outflow; Meiofauna.


Album information

Title: Slow Water | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: Papillon Sounds

< Previous
From The Source




For the Love of Jazz
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.


Antonio Farao
Timing Is Everything
Eric Alexander
In Situ
Alexa Torres


Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.