212

The Marvin Sewell Group: The Worker's Dance

Mark F. Turner By

Sign in to view read count
The Marvin Sewell Group: The Worker's Dance Like many young artists, guitarist Marvin Sewell's musical influences include not only jazz but also classical, popular, experimental, and other styles. But the one that is most evident and clearly spoken in Sewell's own vocabulary would seem to be the blues. His abilities on the guitar are spoken with a deep sense of history, energy, and soul, as most notably witnessed with songstress Cassandra Wilson on Travelling Miles and Belly of the Sun and jazz pianist Jason Moran on his ode to blues, Same Mother.

Sewell's own version of the idiom is distinctive on his debut, Worker's Dance, with a band that is anything but your typical jazz ensemble setup: it includes guitar, rhythm section, Wurlitzer piano, and two accordions. The compositions are refreshing and lean away from jazz, while also retaining elements of free improvisation. Call it blues, Americana, roots, or jazz, the sum is enjoyable and accessible, hinting at Sewell's vision.

The first piece, "Uncle Red, is not your typical jazz intro. It finds Sewell playing slide guitar with the band, performing straight Delta blues with accordions creating a little Cajun zydeco vibe. Next is "The Journey, with a percussion intro and a lovely accordion melody as Sewell strums his acoustic guitar in the background. The mixed textures of the instruments are exquisite as the nylon guitar solo is supported by accordion comping and a confident rhythm section, bringing to mind a contemporary tango.

The centerpiece is "The Worker's Dance, which shows that Sewell has something to say as a composer as well. The song seems to tell a story with detailed parts arranged for each instrument. As a performer, Sewell's playing speaks volumes. On the solo "Evening his slide technique and the tone of his steel-stringed guitar leave a haunting aura which channels the listener into a different place and time. His augmented electric slide is just as effective on the ballad "A Walk in the Rain, suggesting that the essence of the blues is transcendent, whether in past or present reflections.

"Love Poem is a lighthearted piece that lingers with a catchy melody. The bonus track, "Curry Catfish, has an East meets West theme—the band plays a Middle Eastern rhythm painted with accordion solos, lively percussion, and Sewell playing what sounds like a sitar. Whether it be the blues or beyond, this is an auspicious debut which comes highly recommended.

Visit Marvin Sewell on the web.


Track Listing: Uncle Red; The Journey; The Worker's Dance; Mexico Blues; Evening; Insomnia; Big Joe; A Walk in the RainLove Poem; Past Reflections (for Robin); The Worker's Dance (refrain); Curry Catfish (bonus track).

Personnel: Marvin Sewell: guitars; Joe Barbato: accordion; Rachelle Garniez: accordion; Satoshi Takeishi: percussion; Jerome Harris: bass.

Title: The Worker's Dance | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Self Produced


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read I Know Who I Am CD/LP/Track Review I Know Who I Am
by James Nadal
Published: July 26, 2017
Read With You In Mind CD/LP/Track Review With You In Mind
by Doug Collette
Published: July 26, 2017
Read Departure CD/LP/Track Review Departure
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 26, 2017
Read Roll On CD/LP/Track Review Roll On
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 25, 2017
Read BACHanalia CD/LP/Track Review BACHanalia
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 25, 2017
Read "EJ: Song Explorations on Acoustic Guitar and Piano" CD/LP/Track Review EJ: Song Explorations on Acoustic Guitar and Piano
by Doug Collette
Published: October 9, 2016
Read "DICE" CD/LP/Track Review DICE
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 11, 2017
Read "Fellowship" CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Kisaragi" CD/LP/Track Review Kisaragi
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 17, 2017
Read "Duke Ellington's Treasury Shows - Vol. 21" CD/LP/Track Review Duke Ellington's Treasury Shows - Vol. 21
by Chris Mosey
Published: August 11, 2016
Read "America's National Parks" CD/LP/Track Review America's National Parks
by Troy Collins
Published: October 20, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.