Gapplegate review by Greco Edwards

CF 148Steve Swell – Planet Dream (CF 148)
Steve Swell, an Important Trombonist and Leader with a New CD

Following his very interesting Magical Listening Hour (Cadence Jazz), trombonist, composer and bandleader Steve Swell returns to the fray with a trio (including Rob Brown on alto sax and Daniel Levin on cello) that continues in the chamber format. The CD, Planet Dream (Clean Feed), in a sense takes up where Listening Hour leaves off, with spontaneous three-way improvisations. The addition of Steve’s lively compositional material and the denser, more contrapuntal texture gives the session a somewhat different sound, however.

Brown and Levin turn in good work and contrast nicely with Swell’s burrish, airborne bone. Both compositionally and as one of the foremost new jazz trombonists active today, Steve Swell never gives anything but his best. If there were a clunker CD trade-in deal out there, I doubt if anything Steve has done would qualify.

Planet Dream manages to combine sensitive free interplay with the excitement and drive of historically more widely disseminated styles of jazz. It’s one of the reasons we should look to Swell in the coming years as one of the handful of important musical leaders to emerge full-blown (no pun intended).

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