Trombonist Swell's Slammin' the Infinte quintet with multi-reedist Sabir Mateen, pianist John Blume, bassist Matthew Heyner and drummer Klaus Kugel in works whose attitude are inspired by Walt Whitman.
Swell's, Steve Slammin' The Infinite
Label: Not Two Records
Released in: Poland
"[...] Swell's colleagues in his quintet are all long-standing. Multi-reedist Sabir Mateen is the elder of the ensemble and adds a vibrant array of tonal colors on saxophones, clarinet and flute. Pianist John Blum, just recently recipient of renewed exposure via handful of new recordings of his own, has a performance resume dating back decades. Bassist Matthew Heyner, Mateens's comrade in the erstwhile quartet Test, comes out of his mentor William Parker's shadow. Lastly but not least, there's drummer Klaus Kugel whose credentials are similarly ironclad with a percussive approach that balances muscle with poise. All five favor long-form collective improvisation and Swell's seven compositions are geared toward just that. His writing isn't just window-dressing to hang wooly solos on and there's a natural flow between most ensemble and individual statements.
"Sketch 1" divides the band into pairings with Mateen's flute dancing in extended concert with Blum's kinetic piano. Swell and Kugel follow for another conversation. Far from the odd man out, Heyner concludes the piece with a solo statement steeped in stirring extended arco techniques. Heyner's strings are also instrumental in setting the mood on "Where are the Heartfelt?' and "My Myth of Perfection", setting up a turgid ostinato on the first and scything high harmonics on the second to set off a slow boil. "Sketch 2" sprawls to six minutes shy of a half hour and it's here where a little self-editing could've been beneficial, but the players otherwise make the most of the space and time accorded. At nearly eighty minutes all told the program isn't a short trip, but true to Swell's stated intent there's plenty to see and hear along the way. "-Derek, Master of a Small House
At The Squid's Ear!
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NY Downtown & Jazz/Improv
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Label: Not Two Records
Catalog ID: MW 827
Squidco Product Code: 12777
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded live at Park West Studios, NYC on January 24, 2007 by Jim Clouse.
Steve Swell-trombone, compositions
Sabir Mateen-alto sax, tenor sax, clarinet, alto clarinet, flute
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1. Not Their Kind 8:32
2. Sketch #1 8:05
3. Where Are The Heartfelt? 12:29
4. My Myth Of Perfection 14:20
5. The Only Way...Out 15:33
6. Sketch #2 4:00
7. The Darkness Afoot 13:46