All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

212

The Marvin Sewell Group: The Worker's Dance

Mark F. Turner By

Sign in to view read count
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

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Pendulum CD/LP/Track Review
Pendulum
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 21, 2018
Read Flow Vertical CD/LP/Track Review
Flow Vertical
by Troy Dostert
Published: November 21, 2018
Read Bonafide CD/LP/Track Review
Bonafide
by Geannine Reid
Published: November 21, 2018
Read Christian McBride's New Jawn CD/LP/Track Review
Christian McBride's New Jawn
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 21, 2018
Read Bonafide CD/LP/Track Review
Bonafide
by David A. Orthmann
Published: November 21, 2018
Read The Sky Above Her CD/LP/Track Review
The Sky Above Her
by Troy Dostert
Published: November 20, 2018
Read "Perception" CD/LP/Track Review Perception
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 15, 2018
Read "Marseille" CD/LP/Track Review Marseille
by Ian Patterson
Published: November 26, 2017
Read "Streaming" CD/LP/Track Review Streaming
by Gareth Thompson
Published: September 29, 2018
Read "Faustian Pact" CD/LP/Track Review Faustian Pact
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 28, 2018
Read "Lean On Me" CD/LP/Track Review Lean On Me
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: August 28, 2018
Read "Roadmaps" CD/LP/Track Review Roadmaps
by Paul Naser
Published: March 14, 2018