Albums Featuring - Steve Swell
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Knudstock 2000Herb Robertson (Cornet), Frank Grasso (Piccolo Trumpet), Steve Swell (Trombone), Bob Hovey (Trombone), Bob Ackerman (Flute), Knud Jensen (Tenor Saxophone), Jim Hart (Guitar), Hans Tammen (Guitar), Chris Lough (Contrabass), Tom Sayek (Drums), Herb Fisher (Drums)This was one of the many informal jams a group of improvisers engaged in at Knud’s place in New Jersey. A musician’s jam for musicians. This one was recorded and its dynamic unpretentious self is here as presented. Included are some delightful background notes by the artists themselves. Bottoms OutScott Miller (Composer), Joe Fonda (Bass), Kevin Norton (Drums), Michael J. Stevens (Piano), Mark Whitecage (Alto Saxophone), David Bindman (Clarinet), David Schumacher (Baritone Saxophone), Robert DeBellis (Baritone Saxophone), Sam Furnace (Baritone Saxophone), Steve Swell (Trombone), Jim Leff (Trombone)Scott Miller and Joe Fonda brought together this potent ensemble, sort of a musicians’ workshop with, “A premise of the group that, in our music, there is an equal assertion of written composition and improvisation: The writing and the improvising are continuous and simultaneous throughout.” And “Though every member of Bottoms Out is a formidable soloist, the band is ultimately about a sense of ensemble.” The ensemble existed for a couple of years and was obviously an engaging unit, as witnessed by this sole issued document.
Related Albums on CIMP Records
Live in MontrealGebhard Ullmann, Steve Swell, Hilliard Greene, Barry AltschulThis quartet came together in 2004 and we first recorded it in June 2004 (CIMP 315). At the time I wrote “This is a tough group,” speaking about the group’s musical character but the fact that four years later they are still functioning as a group speaks to another toughness or resilience. Between these dates each member of the group has been active with a number of other projects, both as members and leaders. As for Casa del Popolo, it is one of the most continuously supportive outlets for creative improvised music in Canada and a venue where, in 2005, CIMPoL made its first recordings (CIMPoL 5001 and 5003). The venue is small—about 16’ by 60’ with a 10’ by 10’ bandstand at its end, a bar, and tables at the other (street) end. A relaxed and respectful environment is both encouraging of the artist, and, in this case the CIMPoL crew as well. The first set opened around 10 p.m. In his opening announcement, Steve Swell (b.1954, Newark, NJ) noted it was hockey night in Canada, May Day the next day, but tonight would be mayhem and with that they were off and running with Box Set. Earlier, in discussing the calculated risks of recording on location, Barry Altschul (b.1943, NYC, NY) modestly told me that if we didn’t get (the material) for a great recording it was our fault as “this band has been amazingly strong” for the whole tour. In a phone conversation a few days earlier, Steve had suggested to me basically the same thing. All this I think was confirmed right from the opening on Box Set, which if the opening mayhem doesn’t give you pause, surely Gebhard Ullmann’s (b.1957, Bad Godesberg, Germany) driving tenor solo will. The second piece, Don’t Touch My Music, is interesting in that the heart of the piece is made up of two duos, stop time with Steve and Gebhard and in time with Barry and Hill Greene (b.1958, Logansport, IN) giving further evidence of the robustness of this group. On Improv/ For Grachan, it’s not duologues but monologues that distinguish this composition. Both Hill and Barry have distinguishing solo conversations in the performance, a piece seemingly made up of many pieces, many conversations, and many wonderful moments and movements. Slammin’ Textures/ Kleine Figuren and Composite #1 both come from the second set. Again, the former displaying a structural development built along a series of solos and duos and rhythmic variances covering everything from madrigal-like Third Stream sounds to backbeat Blues. The final performance of the night, Composite #1, develops off a typical Swell stomp riff and eventually deconstructs into a minimalist dialogue then gathers its passionate conversation for some improvisatory fellowship and finish. Hockey night in Canada rarely sounded so good. Robert D. Rusch - April 30, 2008 Double DiploidSteve Swell, David Taylor, Warren Smith, Chad TaylorWhoa! Two trombones and two percussionists? What can this be? What it is is music of great rhythm, drive, humor, intensity, and downright fun. If you've come across the talents of either or both Messrs. Swell and Taylor, then you know the contrast of their brilliance. Add in Warren Smith (a senior percussion master) and Chad Taylor (no longer just in the underground) and you have a quartet of great capabilities—even of accomplishing the musical Double Diploid, and more the fun for it. Twice the pleasure just for the asking. Not Just...David Taylor, Steve Swell, Billy Bang, Tomas Ulrich, Ken FilianoGad. Two trombones and strings! But when the trombones are Dave Taylor and Steve Swell and the strings are Bang, Ulrich, and Filiano, you know this is going to be fun. A five-sided circle that is everything you'd expect from this meeting of fertile musical minds. Over 270 cumulative years in the making, its listening pleasures should last easily that long. Recorded January 5 & 6, 2005. Desert Songs and Other LandscapesGebhard Ullmann, Steve Swell, Hilliard Greene, Barry AltschulGebhard Ullmann, whose formidable European reputation has yet to find its match in North America, joins with Steve Swell - one of the most inventive, active, and touring trombonists on the creative improvised music scene - for a program that reflects the travels (and travails?) of their lives. And with Barry Altschul and Hill Greene handling the rhythm, you know there's no featherbedding on this road trip. Recorded June 22 & 23, 2004. RenewalChris Kelsey, Steve Swell, Franscois Grillot, Jay RosenChris Kelsey is back and he's lost none of his passion nor intensity and continues to be one of the strongest and most original soprano sax voices on the scene. Here's a chance for listeners to hear now what critics will still be raving about in 15 years. Tough stuff. Recorded April 7, 2004.
The Drum is Honor EnoughPatrick Brennan, Steve Swell, Hill Greene, Newman Taylor BakerListening to Patrick Brennan's music is a bit like looking at a bowl that has been shattered and reassembled but whose fit isn't quite right?you know what it is when looking at it, but it requires some reassessment to take it all in. Extensive Artist and Producer Notes may take you one listen just to get through, another listen to digest, but by the third listen the joy and genius of this concert should be evident. A valuable addition to this veteran's slight but growing discography. Recorded February 17 & 18, 2004. Steve Swell's Suite for Players, Listeners and other DreamersSteve Swell, Will Connell, Roy Campbell, Charles Burnham, Francois Grillot, Kevin NortonOver the 8 years Steve Swell has been recording for CIMP, he has produced a little less than a dozen projects, all of them distinct and purposeful. This latest effort may be his most ambitious to date, a large scale work that retains the intimacy and personality of a smaller work with the power and impact of the larger concept. A solid statement from a trombonist now considered to be a major talent on the post Bop, creative improvised music scene. Recorded July 16 & 17, 2003. Still in MovementSteve Swell, Tom Abbs, Geoff MannSteve Swell calls this his New York BrassWood Trio; we’re not sure why. What the trio offers is a chance for Steve to offer up some of his compositional delights along with the technical and improvising pleasures of this hip little trio. Another distinctive Steve Swell-led recording. Recorded March 10 & 11, 2003.
Poets of the NowUrsel Schlicht, Steve Swell, Tom Abbs, Geoff MannFor Schlicht and Swell, this is a follow-up to their very exciting Sound Quest recording on Cadence Jazz Records. Here the group moves more into composed structures with Ms. Schlicht, in particular, showing a softer side. But make no mistakes - this is post-Bop creative improvised music, and yet another fresh look at Steve Swell whose growing reputation is finally catching up to his talents. Form, variety, and passion combine here for meaty listening. Recorded July 18, 2002. Recollections of Darby HicksBob Washington, Steve Swell, Dominic DuvalThis date is essentially a "brother's" narrative of growing up in America from the pre- WWII years. It's a story funny, funky, and poignant, and delivered with improvised surroundings which suggest some parallels to the collaboration between Charles Mingus and Jean Shephard on "The Clown." A good tale, well told with outstanding improvisations. Recorded April 23 & 24, 2002. ObbligatoMary LaRose, Jeff Lederer, Steve Swell, Dominic DuvalIntegrating material from a broad idiomatic range including Charles Mingus, Duke Ellington, Randy Newman, Jimi Hendrix, Ornette Coleman, Claude Thornhill, Albert Ayler and others, vocalist extraordinaire Mary LaRose leads a strong improvising quartet. Out of the tradition but clearly of today and tomorrow, this is music as challenging as it is sensual. Lucille's Gemini DreamAvram Fefer, Steve Swell, Wilber Morris, Igal FoniFollowing up his trio's well received debut recording on Cadence Jazz Records, reedman Avram Fefer brings the dynamic trombone of Steve Swell into the mix and the quartet addresses 7 original compositions, including the title track, a particularly evocative and lyrical ballad. Interplay, composition, depth, and complexity all propel this to a dynamic listen. Recorded Jan. 11 & 12, 2001 DeliriumOri Kaplan, Tom Abbs, Steve Swell, Geoff MannA follow up to the first (CIMP 190) session with Trio Plus, augmented by Steve Swell's trombone. This recording also focuses on both Ori Kaplan's catchy compositions and the energized interplay of the group's outward swing. Recorded May 1 and 2, 2000. AtmospheelsSteve Swell, Will Connell, Lou GrassiSteve Swell with a nifty little post-bop trio that includes the rarely heard veteran Will Connell. These players have known each other for more than two decades and these eight tracks open up some fine conversant and stimulating exchanges. Recorded August 3 & 4, 1998. Mo' PoLou Grassi, Perry Robinson, Herb Robertson, Steve Swell, Wilber MorrisOne of the best free ensembles working today. The seven tracks range in length from under 3 to over 17 minutes in length. Out of nothing, substantial music is developed, remarkable fresh and free of fat and fill. It's what can happen in the hands of veterans well versed in the discipline of the art. No faking here. Recorded July 16 & 17, 1997. Out And AboutSteve Swell, Roswell Rudd, Ken Filiano, Lou GrassiState of the art trombone from two generations of masters. Warm, wonderful, and wild - it confirms why Steve Swell and Roswell Rudd are in a league of their own. Trombonemanship of the highest order and energy. Recorded June 14 & 15, 1996.
ObservationsSteve Swell, Chris KelseyRemarkably intuitive interplay. Inventive, surprising, and playful freely improvised music. Endless riches for attentive listeners. Recorded Feb. 16 & 17, 1996.