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The Swallow Quintet — Into The Woodwork (2013)

 The Swallow Quintet — Into The Woodwork (2013)

The Swallow Quintet — Into The Woodwork
Chris Cheek’s focused tone and uneasy lines are a delight, but the dominant voice is that of Carla Bley.
Birth name: Steve Swallow
Born: October 4, 1940, Fair Lawn, New Jersey, United States
Location: New York
Occupations: Double bassist, electric bassist, composer, educator
Instruments: Double bass, electric upright bass, electric bass
Album release: June 17, 2013
Record Label:  ECM/Xtra WATT Records
Duration:     56:18
Tracks:
01. Sad Old Candle     (5:19)
02. Into The Woodwork     (5:03)
03. From Whom It May Concern     (5:36)
04. Back In Action     (5:03)
05. Grisly Business     (4:43)
06. Unnatural Causes     (2:49)
07. The Butler Did It     (2:53)
08. Suitable For Framing     (4:26)
09. Small Comfort     (5:29)
10. Still There     (5:34)
11. Never Know     (5:36)
12. Exit Stage Left     (3:47)
Notes: As a child, Swallow studied piano and trumpet before turning to the double bass at age 14. His style involves intricate solos in the upper register of his instrument; he was one of the first to adopt he High C string on the bass guitar.
Website: http://www.wattxtrawatt.com/
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/artist/steve-swallow
LABKLUTUR: Jazz changes - a conversation with Steve Swallow: http://www.labkultur.tv/en/video/jazz-changes-conversation-steve-swallow
REVIEW
By Lance
≈  Textural is a word Steve Swallow uses in the press release to describe this 12 track, no discernible separation, album and it nicely sums up the pastoral rich opener Sad Old Man.
The title track, Into the Woodwork, has similar underpinnings but above it all Cheek emerges with a solo worthy of any of the great Blue Note tenormen. A Berklee graduate I wasn't familiar with his work but he has appeared on over 60 albums including several under his own name. Likewise Cardenas, he too has a prolific recording background and worked with Cheek in the Paul Motian Band. His playing on the album is clean and lyrical, keeping the melodic content flowing.
≈  By now you've probably got the message that this isn't a typical organ/guitar/tenor soul session - it is too well textured (there's that word again) for that. Even Rossy's drum breaks are far removed from the showboating explosions of most drummers. Instead we get percussive lines integrated within the surrounds.
≈  Carla Bley eschews the B3 with Leslie blast in favour of a more controlled - dare I say it? textured sound. Strangely, her solo on Still There includes an extensive quote from "Oh the driver's got the wind up" that merges into what sounds like the American version of "The Last Post" as played by the cavalry bugler in a thousand westerns.
≈  Swallow composed all the pieces as well as adding distinctive bass lines and solos. The quintet do his compositions justice.
In french:
≈  "Une affaire de famille, ce quintet de Steve Swallow avec Carla Bley (cette fois a l'orgue) : ils jouent ensemble depuis des lustres et sont amants, ce qui s'entend dans leur musique. Mais cette fois toutes les compositions sont de Steve, qui les joue a la guitare basse avec une délicatesse d'amant, justement. D'amant de la musique d'abord. Que les conceptions harmoniques de Carla Bley aient fini par déteindre sur son compagnon, avec ces cycles d'accords en spirales dansantes, cela se perçoit aussi. Mais quand on examine les themes composés par Swallow avant sa rencontre avec la grande Carla, on s'aperçoit que leurs affinités étaient électives de toute éternité. ≈  Somme toute, ces deux-la étaient faits pour s'entendre, s'écouter, se répondre. Les compos — toutes nouvelles — se succedent dans des couleurs différentes sous une sorte d'opalescence qui leur est commune : ce sont des bijoux auxquels chacun des musiciens apporte des chatoiements subtils. On a plaisir a retrouver Jorge Rossy a la batterie, lui qui a quitté le trio de Brad Mehldau pour se consacrer au piano. Les autres solistes inspirés sont ici le saxophoniste ténor Chris Cheek, qui rivalise de tendresse avec le guitariste Steve Cardenas, celui-ci improvisant dans le style de Swallow. Une affaire de famille, décidément, a condition de retourner la fameuse phrase d'André Gide en : « Familles, je vous aime »." (source: www.telerama.fr)
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≈  US bassist/composer Steve Swallow and his group recorded this music in France in November 2011 two days after a London jazz festival gig in which the repertoire had sounded wryly gothic, sometimes like hyper-cool Thelonious Monk, but a little underpowered. On record, though, the diffidence is gone. Swallow's early work as a bass sideman was often with understated artists including reeds-players Jimmy Giuffre and Bud Freeman, trumpeter Art Farmer, vibraphonist Gary Burton and it sounds as if he's after a reunion with some of those memories here, but from the perspective of his later-flowering composing muse. Bley plays ghostly Hammond organ, and though this music doesn't aim to grab anybody by the lapels, it's consistently seductive from the murmuring opener Sad Old Candle with its disconsolate sax-and-guitar dance, through the organ-churning swing of the title track and on to the bopping, unison sax/guitar blues of Unnatural Causes. The best track, The Butler Did It, delightfully balances a shuffling groove with some seesawing call-and-response between saxophonist Chris Cheek and guitarist Steve Cardenas.
Fortaken: http://www.womenweb.com/
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REVIEW
By John Fordham (Editor rating: ****)
≈  US bassist/composer Steve Swallow and his group recorded this music in France in November 2011 – two days after a London jazz festival gig in which the repertoire had sounded wryly gothic, sometimes like hyper-cool Thelonious Monk, but a little underpowered. On record, though, the diffidence is gone. Swallow's early work as a bass sideman was often with understated artists – including reeds-players Jimmy Giuffre and Bud Freeman, trumpeter Art Farmer, vibraphonist Gary Burton – and it sounds as if he's after a reunion with some of those memories here, but from the perspective of his later-flowering composing muse. Bley plays ghostly Hammond organ, and though this music doesn't aim to grab anybody by the lapels, it's consistently seductive – from the murmuring opener Sad Old Candle with its disconsolate sax-and-guitar dance, through the organ-churning swing of the title track and on to the bopping, unison sax/guitar blues of Unnatural Causes. ≈  The best track, The Butler Did It, delightfully balances a shuffling groove with some seesawing call-and-response between saxophonist Chris Cheek and guitarist Steve Cardenas.
Fortaken: http://www.guardian.co.uk/
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PARTIAL DISCOGRAPHY:
As leader or co-leader::::
Hotel Hello with Gary Burton (ECM, 1974)
Home - music to poems by Robert Creeley (ECM, 1980)
Carla (Watt, 1987)
Duets with Carla Bley (Watt, 1988)
Swallow (Sub Pop, 1991)
Go Together with Carla Bley (Watt, 1992)
Real Book (ECM, 1993)
Deconstructed (ECM, 1996)
Are We There Yet? with Carla Bley (Watt, 1998)
Always Pack Your Uniform On Top (ECM, 2000)
Damaged in Transit (Xtra Watt, 2003)
L'Histoire du Clochard with Ohad Talmor (Palmetto, 2007)
Carla's Christmas Carols with Carla Bley (Watt, 2009)
As sideman::::
With Carla Bley:
Musique Mecanique (Watt, 1979)
Social Studies (Watt, 1980)
Live! (Watt, 1981)
I Hate to Sing (Watt, 1983)
Heavy Heart (Watt, 1983)
Night-Glo (Watt, 1985)
Sextet (Watt, 1986)
Fleur Carnivore (Watt, 1988)
The Very Big Carla Bley Band (Watt, 1990)
Big Band Theory (Watt, 1993)
Songs with Legs (Watt, 1994)
The Carla Bley Big Band Goes to Church (Watt, 1996)
Fancy Chamber Music (Watt, 1997)
4 x 4 (Watt, 1999)
Looking for America (Watt, 2002)
The Lost Chords (Watt, 2003)
Appearing Nightly (Watt, 2006)
The Lost Chords find Paolo Fresu (Watt, 2007)
With Paul Bley:
Hot (Soul Note, 1985)
With Gary Burton:
The Groovy Sound of Music (RCA, 1963)
The Time Machine (RCA, 1966)
Tennessee Firebird (RCA, 1966)
Duster (RCA, 1967)
Lofty Fake Anagram (RCA, 1967)
A Genuine Tong Funeral (RCA, 1967)
Gary Burton Quartet in Concert (RCA, 1968)
Country Roads & Other Places (RCA, 1969)
Throb (Atlantic, 1969)
Good Vibes (Atlantic, 1969)
Paris Encounter (Atlantic, 1969) with Stéphane Grappelli
Dreams So Real (ECM, 1975)
Passengers (ECM, 1977)
Times Square (ECM, 1978)
Easy as Pie (ECM, 1980)
Picture This (ECM, 1982)
Whiz Kids (ECM, 1986)
Real Life Hits (ECM, 1984)
Quartet Live
With Don Ellis:
Out of Nowhere (Candid, 1961 [1988])
With Art Farmer:
Interaction (Atlantic, 1963) - with Jim Hall
Live at the Half-Note (Atlantic, 1963) - with Jim Hall
To Sweden with Love (Atlantic, 1964) - with Jim Hall
The Many Faces of Art Farmer (Scepter, 1964)
Sing Me Softly of the Blues (Atlantic, 1965)
With Jimmy Giuffre:
Emphasis, Stuttgart 1961 (hatArt, 1961)
1961 (ECM, 1992 - re-issue of the 1961 Verve-albums Fusion & Thesis) - with Paul Bley
With Steve Kuhn:
Three Waves
Trance (ECM, 1974)
Wisteria (ECM, 2012)
With Pete La Roca:
Basra (Blue Note, 1965)
With Joe Lovano:
Universal Language (Blue Note, 1992)
With Michael Mantler:
The Jazz Composer's Orchestra (JCOA, 1968)
The Hapless Child (WATT, 1976)
Movies (WATT, 1977)
More Movies (WATT, 1980)
Something There (WATT, 1982)
With Gary McFarland:
Point of Departure (Impulse!, 1963)
With Pat Metheny and John Scofield:
I Can See Your House from Here (Blue Note Records, 1994)
With Paul Motian:
Reincarnation of a Love Bird (JMT, 1995)
Flight of the Blue Jay (Winter & Winter, 1995)
2000 + One (Winter & Winter, 1997)
Play Monk and Powell (Winter & Winter, 1998)
With George Russell:
The Stratus Seekers (Riverside)
With John Scofield Trio:
EnRoute: John Scofield Trio LIVE (Verve, 2004)
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The Swallow Quintet — Into The Woodwork (2013)

 

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