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Musician

John Swana

John Swana is one of the most exciting trumpeters to arrive for a decade," declares Mark Gardner, co-author of Blackwell's Guide to Recorded Jazz.

Born in Norristown, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia, Swana took up Trumpet at the age of 11. He was drawn to jazz at the age of 17 after hearing Dizzy Gillespie, and the interest developed into a passion while he was in college. There he began transcribing the solos of Freddie Hubbard, Clifford Brown, Miles Davis, and Tom Harrell.

Swana has performed and toured with the Mingus Big Band. He has also played with well known jazz names such as Don Patterson, Shirley Scott, Mickey Roker, Stanley Turrentine, Harold Mabern, Cecil Payne, Johnny Coles, Ralph Peterson, Charles Fambrough, Bobby Watson, Trudy Pitts, Bootsie Barnes, Craig Handy, Chris Potter, Stephen Scott, Tim Warfield, Eric Alexander, Sam Newsome, Brad Mehldau,Vincent Herring, Uri Caine, Tim Armacost, Peter Leitch, Peter Bernstein, Ravi Coltrane, Ralph Bowen, Terrel Stafford, Seamus Blake, and Robin Eubanks

Album

Love Letter

Label: Recent Music
Released: 2021
Track listing: Linger; Mirage; To Be Free (interlude); I Just Wasn't Made For These Times; Cold Spell; Easy; Tribute Valley; To Be Free; Goody Bag; Mo(u)rning.

5

Article: Album Review

The Witherbees: Love Letter

Read "Love Letter" reviewed by Jerome Wilson


The Witherbees are a band from Philadelphia that mix folk, country, rock and jazz together into a stew of dreamy music that flows together easily into a distinctive sound. Instrumental tracks like “Mirage," “Cold Spell" and “Tribute Valley" are the most overtly jazzy ones on their album. On these, Mike Lorenz's guitar and Jacqui ...

28

Article: Interview

Norman David: Forty-Year Wizard of The Eleventet

Read "Norman David: Forty-Year Wizard of The Eleventet" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer


A few years ago, a musician friend suggested I go hear a band that was playing at a place in Bella Vista, Philadelphia, a neighborhood with a significant jazz history (violinist Joe Venuti and guitarist Eddie Lang lived there and are honored with several plaques and a mural) -but not much current music to speak of. ...

4

Song of the Day

Linger

Album:
By
Label: Recent Music
Released: 2021
Duration: 4:41

6

Article: Album Review

Elliot Bild & the Zone: ISMS

Read "ISMS" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello


A textural and improvisational tour de force from Elliot Bild and the Zone, ISMS, recorded live, consists of ten selections—nine of which are Bild originals—and offers up an evening of intelligent and enlightening jazz. “Army of Aliens (Your Thoughts)" opens the set and is a classic hard-bop burner with Bild and saxophonist Hudson-Casanova lifting ...

2

Article: Album Review

Susie Meissner: I Wish I Knew

Read "I Wish I Knew" reviewed by Jack Bowers


I wish I knew why the talented Philadelphia-based singer Susie Meissner chose to open her salute to the Great American Songbook with the only tune on the album that doesn't really qualify: Curtis Lewis' “The Great City." It's not a bad song but Cole Porter or Johnny Mandel it ain't. On the bright side, Meissner recovers ...

70

Song of the Day

Poinciana

Album:
By
Label: Lydian Jazz Records
Released: 2020
Duration: 6:19

8

Article: Live Review

Eric Alexander, Steve Davis, John Swana and the Philly All-Stars: Chris’ Jazz Cafe

Read "Eric Alexander, Steve Davis, John Swana and the Philly All-Stars: Chris’ Jazz Cafe" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer


Eric Alexander, Steve Davis, John Swana and the Philly All-Stars Chris' Jazz Café Philadelphia, PA February 22, 2020 This first set on the second night of a two night stand with a packed house featured three superb and well-known hard bop masters backed by a local rhythm section ...

6

Article: Reassessing

In The Moment

Read "In The Moment" reviewed by David A. Orthmann


The trail of splendid hard bop influenced recordings extends well beyond the genre's heyday of the 1950s and '60s. A case in point is trumpeter John Swana's appropriately titled In The Moment. The 1996 release on the Criss Cross Jazz imprint merits the exalted status of its celebrated predecessors. Captured in a one-day studio session, despite ...


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