Reviews that mention Steve Swell

February 18, 2017

NPR’s 11th Annual

Jazz Critics Poll Ballot
2016

•Your name and primary affiliation(s)

Ken Waxman: Jazzword.com The New York City Jazz Record; Whole Note

•Your choices for this year’s 10 best New Releases listed in descending order

1. Alexander Hawkins Trio Alexander Hawkins Music AH 1001

2. Anna Webber’s Simple Trio Binary Skirl Records 033

3. Michael Formanek Ensemble Kolossus The Distance ECM 2484

4. Artifacts Reed-Reid-Mitchell 482 Music 482-1093

5. Umlaut Big Band Euro Swing Vol. 2 Umlaut UMFR-CD18 MORE

December 26, 2016

Taylor Ho Bynum

Enter the Plustet
Firehouse 12 FH 12-04-01-025

Illegal Crowns

Illegal Crowns

RogueArt ROG-0066

Quietly and without excessive fanfare, Connecticut-based cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum has become one of this century’s most accomplished composers, improvisers, orchestrators and band leaders. Like a fighter who excels in whatever weight classes he trains for, Bynum has not only been involved in the macro sense, as one assistant conductor of some of Anthony Braxton’s major creations, but also in micro situations, where he manages to convey the breath of his ideas performing solo or in ensembles as small as duos, usually with drummer Tomas Fujiwara. MORE

October 21, 2016

Yoni Kretzmer

Five
Out Now ONR 026

Perhaps channeling some form of numerology, Israeli tenor saxophonist Yonni Kretzmer has crafted another in his collection of Free Jazz showpiece by exploring the validity of a multi-horn ensemble. Whether the title refers to the number of players or number of compositions – all by the saxophonist – like the faint outlines of an earlier edifice on an adjacent building’s aging wall the integer also brings up memories of The New York Contemporary Five (NYC5).

That rugged early 1960s band had a personal similar to this one that, besides the Brooklyn-based Kretzmer, also featured German-born cornetist Thomas Heberer plus bassist Max Johnson, drummer Chad Taylor and trombonist Steve Swell. Swell whose superlative command of all aspects of his horn makes him the first among equals when it comes to solo work, suggest another antecedent to the Kretzmer combo, bands in which trombonist Roswell Rudd was paired with one or the other of the NYC5’s saxophonists: John Tchicai or Archie Shepp. Just because they’re working in a closely related style, though, that doesn’t make the YK5 a NYC5-clone any more than the Coen Brothers are Stanley Kramer because they toil in the same medium. MORE

August 1, 2016

Michael Jefry Stevens

Brass Tactics
Konnex KCD 5315

Steve Swell

Reflections & Renewals

NotTwo MW 929-2

Building on your experiences and concentrating on your best attributes are two elements of many people’s persona once they reach their sixth decade. It’s the same with musicians – especially if they’re involved with Jazz and/or improvised music. Attaining or coming close to seven decades of life either side of 60 gives provides many enhanced creativity. Gifted with new maturity, unlike most Pop performers, who fasten on their teens and twenties, creative improvisers continue producing major works, some of which because of honed skills are even better than those produced before. MORE

August 1, 2016

Steve Swell

Reflections & Renewals
NotTwo MW 929-2

Michael Jefry Stevens

Brass Tactics

Konnex KCD 5315

Building on your experiences and concentrating on your best attributes are two elements of many people’s persona once they reach their sixth decade. It’s the same with musicians – especially if they’re involved with Jazz and/or improvised music. Attaining or coming close to seven decades of life either side of 60 gives provides many enhanced creativity. Gifted with new maturity, unlike most Pop performers, who fasten on their teens and twenties, creative improvisers continue producing major works, some of which because of honed skills are even better than those produced before. MORE

April 7, 2016

Artist Feature

Chad Taylor
By Ken Waxman

Modestly drummer Chad Taylor declares: “Being a band leader is a lot of work and effort for me. Some people have a natural gift for leading a band, but I’m not one of them.” Still the Brooklyn-based percussionist works as often as most leaders. For a start the Windy City-raised Taylor, 43, is, with cornetist Rob Mazurek, one half of the Chicago Underground Duo (CUD) plus the CU’s other iterations. He’s also one-third of Digital Primitives with multi-instrumentalist Cooper-Moore and saxophonist Assif Tsahar, and locally can be found gigging with everyone from Marc Ribot to Steve Swell. Plus he still plays, usually overseas, with his Chicago hommies. “I really enjoy working with people with the goal of creating a language regardless of what style it is,” he affirms. MORE

February 26, 2016

Dave Burrell/Steve Swell

Turning Point
NoBusiness NBCD 70

Steve Swell’s Kende Dreams

Hommage à Bartok

Silkheart SHCD 160

Working forward in his career as one of the busiest trombonists in New York’s Free Music scene, Steve Swell has in the last little while been drawn to program music. That doesn’t mean a turn away from open-ended improv, of which he has performed masterly alongside everyone from Tim Berne to Peter Brötzmann. It’s just like an actor trying out classical as well as contemporary roles he transmits the artistry implicit in one to the other. MORE

February 26, 2016

Steve Swell’s Kende Dreams

Hommage à Bartok
Silkheart SHCD 160

Dave Burrell/Steve Swell

Turning Point

NoBusiness NBCD 70

Working forward in his career as one of the busiest trombonists in New York’s Free Music scene, Steve Swell has in the last little while been drawn to program music. That doesn’t mean a turn away from open-ended improv, of which he has performed masterly alongside everyone from Tim Berne to Peter Brötzmann. It’s just like an actor trying out classical as well as contemporary roles he transmits the artistry implicit in one to the other. MORE

June 21, 2015

Basement Research

Hat And Shoes
Between The Lines BTLCHR 71238

Carlo Costa Quartet

Sediment

Neither Nor Records n/n 001

Having paid his dues in experimental – and other – music(s) since the mid-1970s, New York-based trombonist Steve Swell has become an eclectic, respected commodity in both North America and Europe. While this means that Swell is as likely to be gigging with Peter Brötzmann as Rob Brown, it also pinpoints the dissolving differences between so-called American and so-called European free music MORE

June 21, 2015

Carlo Costa Quartet

Sediment
Neither Nor Records n/n 001

Basement Research

Hat And Shoes

Between The Lines BTLCHR 71238

Having paid his dues in experimental – and other – music(s) since the mid-1970s, New York-based trombonist Steve Swell has become an eclectic, respected commodity in both North America and Europe. While this means that Swell is as likely to be gigging with Peter Brötzmann as Rob Brown, it also pinpoints the dissolving differences between so-called American and so-called European free music MORE

May 24, 2015

Trzaska/Swell/Holmlander/Daisy

Return from the Center of the Earth
Bocian Records BR-M1

Mikolaj Trzaska/Devin Hoff/Michael Zerang

Sleepless in Chicago

NoBusiness Records NBLP 70

Bolstering the reputation for international openness enjoyed by his Gdańsk hometown plus his own career, Polish reedist Mikolaj Trzaska expresses himself imaginatively on these discs recorded during Chicago holidays in 2011 and 2012. Trzaska, whose main horns are alto saxophone and bass clarinet developed his Windy City affiliations with stints in saxophonist Ken Vandermark’s Resonance Ensemble and in small groups with multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee or drummer Tim Daisy among others. Here he exhibits his skills in a classic Free Jazz trio with bassist Devin Hoff and drummer Michael Zerang, two of the city’s busiest players, plus an unusually constituted quartet with Daisy, New York trombonist Steve Swell and Swedish tubaist Per Åke Holmlander. MORE

April 7, 2015

Festival Report

Artacts ‘15
By Ken Waxman

Situated in the midst of Austria’s Tyrolean Alps where chair lifts are a 20 minute walk from the central square, every second store sells ski equipment and alpine-outfitted fanatics crowd the streets, the resort of St. Johann in Tirol welcomed an equally committed but different type of fanatic March 6-8. Celebrating its 15th anniversary the annual Artacts Festival presents improvised music at the Alte Gerberei cultural centre and elsewhere. Evening performances ranged from the focused minimalism of the opening Gutvik/Kjær/Strøm trio to drummer Paal Nilssen-Love’s 11-piece Large Unit that closed the festival with confrontational brawn. MORE

January 13, 2014

Gregorio/Swell/Karayorgis

Window and Doorway
Driff Records CD 1301

Equilibrium involve in balancing a small-scale, so-called Chamber Jazz session so that it sounds neither slapdash nor formal is an art in itself. If the organization is too formal, the result can be as lifeless as pretentiously notated sounds; too slapdash and the balance dissolves and loses its focal point. That’s why the sonic architecture displayed on Window and Doorway is so impressive.

Another of the session`s points of interest is that rather than being string-centred, the 11 compositions and group improvisations advance the qualities of trombone, clarinet and piano, with the chordal instrument’s qualities serving to underlay the more powerful horn sounds. This isn’t much of a stretch since each of the trio members is experienced in many forms of musical organization. Chicago-based clarinetist Guillermo Gregorio composes music and plays in improv settings; New York trombonist Steve Swell has been a member of many Jazz and improv bands; and pianist Pandelis Karayorgis has had similar experiences in-and= out experience from his Boston base. MORE

April 21, 2013

Jason Kao Hwang

Burning Bridge
Innova 840

Creating a musical program that relates both to multiculturalism and the melting pot, violinist Jason Kao Hwang’s archetype is true to disparate traditions while melding them into a distinctive musical form. Using instruments from the Jazz, notated music and Chinese traditions his ideas are expressed with an octet, giving him both the flexibility of a small combo plus many of the sonic colors available from a larger ensemble.

Someone whose choice of instruments links him to the so-called classical tradition, Hwang’s experience encompasses experiments with a combo whose members all played Oriental instruments, as well as expressive improvisational cooperation with the likes of bassist William Parker, saxophonist Joe McPhee and cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum. MORE

May 31, 2012

Adam Rudolph/Go: Organic Orchestra

The Sound of a Dream
Meta Records META 014

Paradoxically as his sonic canvas has enlarged and his palate of instrumental shading has become more numerous, percussionist/composer/conductor Adam Rudolph appears to have produced a less promising creation than last time out. Although there’s much to admire in The Sound of a Dream, an 18-part suite, interpreted by 48 [!] musicians, ironically it seems to lack the organic fortitude that made Both/And, his previous release, so exceptional.

By nearly tripling the number of participant, there appears to literally be too many tones, rhythms and textures being advanced by too many musicians too much of the time. Similarly by evidentially cleaving closer to orchestral conventions albeit with more improvisational choices, too many of the tracks lack an overriding motif to sunder them together. You’re left wanting more; not in anticipation but for completion. Interestingly, but troubling as well, Rudolph doesn’t play on the session MORE

February 12, 2011

Lou Grassi Po Band

Live at the Knitting Factory Vol. 1 (with Marshall Allen)
Porter Records PRCD 4051

Nu Band

Live in Paris

NoBusiness Records NBCD 16

By Ken Waxman

Recorded almost exactly seven years apart, these high-class discs illuminate drummer Lou Grassi’s hard-hitting yet rhythmically sophisticated style in two advanced group contexts. At home with styles ranging from ragtime to free form, Grassi advances any project in tandem with other players, never drawing undue attention to himself.

A welcome document involving the drummer’s long-constituted – since 1995 – Po Band, Live at the Knitting Factory features flutist/saxophonist Marshall Allen, linchpin of the Sun Ra Arkestra, guesting with the 2000 version of the group. Besides Grassi, trumpeter Paul Smoker, trombonist Steve Swell and clarinettist Perry Robinson are featured along with the late bassist Wilber Morris. That same year, Grassi hooked up with three other mature players to form the Nu Band. Live in Paris, recorded in 2007, demonstrates the close cooperation which has allowed it to flourish. Although each Nu Band member is a leader in his own right – as are Po Band’s participants – the CD’s extended tracks demonstrate the group’s collegial if not musical harmony. Mercurial reedist Mark Whitecage and fiery brass man Roy Campbell have an ideal setting for their contrapuntal connections, while the drummer and solid bassist Joe Fonda – who plays in as many bands as Grassi – not only keep the music on an even keel, but solos impressively. MORE

December 8, 2008

Bill Dixon

17 Musicians in Search of a Sound: Darfur
AUM Fidelity AUM 046

Bill Dixon

With Exploding Star Orchestra

Thrill Jockey Thrill 192

More than an elderly lion in winter, 83-year-old trumpeter Bill Dixon seems to have reasserted his place in the jazz firmament during the dozen years since he retired from academe after nearly three decades of teaching at Vermont’s Bennington College.

Both of these big band CDs resulted from a purple patch of creativity in the summer of 2007, when Dixon was able to lead different orchestras in New York and Chicago through some of his extended compositions. Both the 56½-minute “Darfur” suite in New York and the two 18-minute versions of “Entrances” in the mid-West are shaped around a combination of composed work and spontaneously cued solos. The tonal colors emphasized on both are orchestral rather than standard big band arrangements, with woodwinds, strings and miscellaneous percussion prominent. MORE

December 8, 2008

Bill Dixon

With Exploding Star Orchestra
Thrill Jockey Thrill 192

Bill Dixon

17 Musicians in Search of a Sound: Darfur

AUM Fidelity AUM 046

More than an elderly lion in winter, 83-year-old trumpeter Bill Dixon seems to have reasserted his place in the jazz firmament during the dozen years since he retired from academe after nearly three decades of teaching at Vermont’s Bennington College.

Both of these big band CDs resulted from a purple patch of creativity in the summer of 2007, when Dixon was able to lead different orchestras in New York and Chicago through some of his extended compositions. Both the 56½-minute “Darfur” suite in New York and the two 18-minute versions of “Entrances” in the mid-West are shaped around a combination of composed work and spontaneously cued solos. The tonal colors emphasized on both are orchestral rather than standard big band arrangements, with woodwinds, strings and miscellaneous percussion prominent. MORE

October 23, 2008

Steve Swell’s Slammin’ The Infinite

Live At The Vision Festival
Not Two MW 780-2

Steve Swell Presents: Rivers Of Sound, Ensemble

News From the Mystic Auricle

Not Two MW 797-2

Middle age sounds good from Steve Swell. Not that age – or ageism – should be any factor in discussing music. But few American players had the gumption to affiliate themselves with Free Jazz during the Fusion and Neo-con drought years between the late 1960s and the early 1990s. So only a small number of mature stylists such as the trombonist are around, who not only continue the search for original formulae advanced by some older improvisers, but also possess the self-editing skills lacking in many younger players. MORE

March 15, 2008

Gebhard Ullmann

New Basement Research
Soul Note 121491-2

More appropriately described as demonstrated results than research, this first-class presentation of low-end polyphony not only celebrates Berlin reedist Gebhard Ullmann’s 50th birthday, but also gives him a chance to reinterpret older compositions in new surroundings.

Regularly gigging in both Europe and North America, the tenor saxophonist and bass clarinetist’s sidemen reflect his trans-Atlantic contacts. British soprano and baritone saxophonist Julian Argülles traded licks with Ullmann on a continental big band recording, while the other players are all New Yorkers. Trombonist Steve Swell co-leads a quartet with the Berliner, while bassist John Hebert and drummer Gerald Cleaver, functioning for the first time as the reedist’s rhythm team, aptly demonstrate why they’re among the busiest individuals in the city. MORE

December 4, 2007

Steve Swell’s Fire Into Music

Swimming in a Galaxy of Goodwill and Sorrow
Rogue Art ROG-0009

Showcasing four major players operating at the top of their game, this nearly 73- minute CD is a pulsating and passionate essay on top-flight composition and improvisation that stays fully in the present while subtly referencing the past. Most pieces feature expected call-and-response from the horns, and the heads are nearly always recapped.

With his ability to articulate J. J. Johnson-style runs as effortlessly as he finesses Classic Jazz inflected tremolo slurs, trombonist Steve Swell, who wrote two-thirds of the tracks, builds many of them on the contrapuntal contrast between his solid timbres and the astringent trills of veteran alto saxophonist Jemeel Moondoc. As their intertwined output explores the spectrum of extended techniques, the tunes’ fundamental rhythmic shape is maintained by bassist William Parker. With that function solidified, drummer Hamid Drake – who may, along with the bassist, be the most recorded advanced jazz player of this century – pops and ruffs his drums, whacks wood blocks and generally elasticizes the beat. MORE

October 3, 2007

Have Single Reed Will Travel

The Trans-Atlantic Career of German Reedman Gebhard Ullmann
CODA Issue 335

By Ken Waxman

Tall, broad-shouldered and with a bullet-shaped shaven head, if German multi-reedist Gebhard Ullmann was an actor, he could be typecast in the role of a militaristic army officer or super-efficient business manager. His lack of on-stage patter reinforces the image as well.

But while super-efficient in his music, the Berlin-based arranger, composer and band leader is no soul-less organization man. Instead Ullmann, whose favored axes are tenor saxophone, bass flute and bass clarinet, could be termed a polymorphic creator. His output ranges from languid chamber-style improv with his long-standing Clarinet Trio or with different piano-bass-woodwind configurations, to righteously swinging romps with his Basement Research group or as part of the co-op Conference Call combo. That’s not counting his few sideman jobs, his folkloric reeds-and-accordion Tá Lam band, gigs with local pick-up bands or his acclaimed CD project with the NDR big band. MORE

December 5, 2006

Steve Swell’s Slammin’ The Infinite

Remember Now
Not Two Records MW 772-2

Profound and proficient practitioners of adroit improvisation, the Slammin’ The Infinite band is just one of the many configurations in which the members of this dexterous foursome are involved.

But what a quartet it is.

Dedicated – at least on this CD – to performing trombonist Steve Swell’s compositions, the band’s instrumentation and creative effervescence put a 21st Century spin on a combo sound first perfected in the mid-1960s by the New York Art Quartet (NYAQ), which had a similar line-up. MORE

October 3, 2006

The Diplomats

We Are Not Obstinate Islands
Clean Feed CF061

Utilizing only the tonal colors available from one trombone, one alto saxophone and one drum set, the Diplomats still create five varied and multi-hued improvisations.

Although the result may seem slightly thin without chordal instruments, the performances are imbued with enough polyphonic variety to overcome this. For comparison envision to-the-point, skeletal forms painted by Klee and Miro, not Van Gogh’s or Monet’s abundant detail. Brassy gutbucket slurs from trombonist Steve Swell, tart split tones from saxophonist Rob Brown plus drum and cymbal resonation from Harris Eisenstadt supply all the needed tinctures. MORE

August 29, 2005

DANIEL CARTER/STEVE SWELL/FEDERICO UGHI

Concrete Science
577 Records #5

MATT LAVELLE
Making Eye Contact with God
Utech Records UR 007

Notes from the underground – New York’s Free Jazz underground to be more precise – these CDs demonstrate that the spirit of constant experimentation is still potent on both sides of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Perhaps confirming that Manhattan is now cozier for stock brokers than musicians, both these trio CDs were recorded in Brooklyn, CONCRET SCIENCE in a studio, MAKING EYE CONTACT WITH GOD at two different clubs. Privation economics also come into play with the recordings. CONCRET SCIENCE is on drummer Federico Ughi’s own small label, MAKING EYE CONTACT WITH GOD is released by a boutique label in an initial pressing of 50. MORE

March 28, 2005

FREEDOMLAND

Yia Yia’s Song
rent control records rcrcd 012

STEVE SWELL
Slammin’ the Infinite
Cadence Jazz Records CJR 1175

Notes from New York’s Lower East Side underground, these two fine sessions show that the spirit of experimentation still shines brightly whether the sounds are called avant garde, the New Thing or Ecstatic Jazz.

What the nine improvisers are playing here is really noting less than intense modern music, but these sounds are often labeled unconventional since the neo-cons have perverted the idea of modern mainstream. MORE

November 8, 2004

DONEDA/WRIGHT/NAKATANI

from between
soseditions 801

BLUE COLLAR
__ is an apparition
Rossbin RS 016

Tatsuya Nakatani’s irregular percussion pulse is what holds these two trio sessions together. Yet the skills of the Japanese-born, South Bronx, N.Y.-based improviser and sound artist merely underline the objectives of the two hornmen with whom he’s associated on either CDs.

Firmly committed to microtonal improv, saxophonists Michel Doneda and Jack Wright on FROM BETWEEN and brassmen Nate Wooley and Steve Swell on _IS AN APPARATION express themselves in non-linear sound pictures in such a way that not only Free Jazz, but electronics -- albeit without electronic instruments -- are referenced. This far into the 21st century, both duos make their point succinctly. But Wooley/Swell/ Nakatani’s band Blue Collar is more novel, since the brassmen create with three valves each, while sopranino and soprano saxophonist Doneda and soprano and alto saxophonist Wright do so with a multiplicity of manipulated keys. MORE

December 15, 2003

WILLIAM PARKER & THE LITTLE HUEY CREATIVE MUSIC ORCHESTRA

Spontaneous
Splasc (h) WS CDH 855

SATOKO FUJII ORCHESTRA-EAST
Before the Dawn
NATSAT MTCJ- 3010

Downtown, they say, is a state of mind. So is so-called downtown music, as these two live big band sessions demonstrate. With polychromatic ideas enlivening both groups, and with composers extending and distend the status quo, the points of congruence between SPONTANEOUS -- recorded in May 2002 at the epicentre of hip, Manhattan’s CBGB’s -- and BEFORE THE DAWN -- recorded 16 days later at a jazz festival in Hamamatsu, Japan -- are closer than you’d imagine. MORE

May 26, 2003

URSEL SCHLICHT-STEVE SWELL 4TET

Poets of the Now
CIMP #272

GARCIA/GEBBIA/WOGRAM
Pronto!
Intakt CD 076

Often awkward and unwieldy to manipulate, the slide trombone attracts fewer sonic explorers than, say, the trumpet or the saxophone. But as these two discs show, committed musicians can still produce convincing improvisations within those limitations.

American Steve Swell (b. 1954) and German Nils Wogram (b. 1972) are two ‘bone men establishing a place for themselves in the expanding jazz/improv traditions. Yet each CD offers a different take on that tradition. MORE

May 5, 2003

ASSIF TSHAR and the ZOANTHROPIC ORCHESTRA

Embracing the Void
Hopscotch 9

ASSIF TSHAR and the NEW YORK UNDERGROUND ORCHESTRA
The Labyrinth
Hopscotch 12

Different as free jazz and New music, on show here are two distinct manifestations of the composing and arranging skills for larger groups by tenor saxophonist Assif Tsahar. Both are engrossing, remarkably mature, compositional works for someone best known for his impassioned blowing with the likes of bassist William Parker and drummer Hamid Drake.

EMBRACING THE VOID has a slight edge however. That’s because all 14 members of the Zoanthropic Orchestra appear better able to personalize the emotional cauldron of Tsahar avant jazz pieces than the 19 musicians of the New York Underground Orchestra can contour THE LABYTINTH into a more original form. MORE

June 15, 2002

BUTCH MORRIS/JUMP ARTS ORCHESTRA

Conduction 117
Jumps Arts JA002

One of the most discussed, but ultimately unsuccessful, notions of the 1950s and 1960s was the attempted fusion of improvised and orchestral music into the so-called Third Stream. Besides the non-cooperation of most so-called classical types, the main reason this didn’t work was that Third Stream’s most committed composers, like John Lewis of the Modern Jazz Quartet, appeared to be trying to put a jazz face on essentially pre-modern serious music. What ended up was a hybrid somewhat like a jet equipped with tricycle wheels. MORE

June 7, 2002

THE TRANSCENDENTALISTS

Vision
Jump Arts JA001

THE IMPLICATE ORDER
At Seixal
Clean Feed CF 001 CD

With little fanfare -- which probably reflects his playing style -- New York-based Steve Swell has become one of the most accomplished improvising trombonist. Someone whose experience encompasses stints in aggregations as varied as vibist Lionel Hampton’s swing band and drummer Joey Baron’s hard-hitting Barrondown, Swell has achieved what he has through hard work, not some major label publicity machine. MORE

March 15, 2002

URSEL SCHLICHT’S IMPLICATE ORDER

Sound Quest
Cadence Jazz Records CJR 1140

Well-traveled German pianist/composer Ursel Schlicht has staked out a territory midway between the fustian assault practiced by the generation of Teutonic improvisers headed by saxophonist Peter Brötzmann and the near inaudible techniques of emerging tone stylists like bassist Werner Dafeldecker.

However, as this fine live CD demonstrates, she’s a bit closer to the earlier players for a couple of reasons. For a start you can actually hear all of the nuances emanating from each instrumentalist on this disc, recorded in her hometown of Kassel. Second, like Brötzmann and others, Schlicht, who lives part of the time in Manhattan, and has played elsewhere in Europe and Mexico, has forged strong bonds with American jazzers. As a mater of fact the other member of her regular working quartet here are all Yanks. MORE

March 15, 2002

AVRAM FEFER

Calling All Spirits
Cadence Jazz Records CJR 1123

AVRAM FEFER
Lucille’s Gemini Dream
CIMP #237

Seattle-born, Boston-trained, a resident of Paris in the early 1990s and since then a Manhattanite, saxophonist Avram Fefer is one of the new breed of peripatetic musicians.

Proficient on all the saxophones and clarinets as well as flute, he’s a straightforward, straightahead player, most comfortable in what should be deemed the post-bop mainstream, if the neo-cons hadn’t forced much of jazz forward to the past at the end of last century. Both of his discs, recorded 13 months apart, offer a cross section of soloing from all concerned that’s never less than accomplished. But with each reprising three of his compositions, it could be that Fefer’s future achievements could rest in composition rather than improvisation. MORE

March 1, 2002

STEVE SWELL

Presents Particle Data Group
Cadence Jazz Records CJR 1139

Voicing disparate instruments together in a small group can be a challenge for even the most accomplished arranger. When the context is free improvisation the creation can be even dicier without expected parts to follow.

That this CD of instant compositions hangs together so well is a testament to the cooperative intuition of the three musicians involved. Selfless in terms of deep listening and quick reflexes, each player manages to subsume whatever agenda he follows for the greater good without resorting to New Age noodling. MORE