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May 1998

Steve Swell Quartet
Moons of Jupiter
CIMP Recordings

Steve Swell extends the lineage of adventurous trombonists, Roswell Rudd, Grachan Moncur III and George Lewis with his daring sense of playing and composition. Complemented by equally bold musicians, alto saxophonist Mark Whitecage, drummer Jay Rosen, and bassist Dominic Duval, Swell boasts an intriguing set that keenly balances the hemispheres of the free and structured.

The symbiosis of Swell and Whitecage conjures the emphatic magic shared between Ornette and Cherry especially on the rollercoasting, "The I Refuse Blues" that's given more agitation by Rosen's metric modulations and Duval's forceful walking basslines. The forceful title track buoyed by Duval's simpatico two note bassline successfully bridges Miles Davis' ESP aesthetics with Ornette Coleman's harmelodic looseness. The program becomes more foreboding with the brooding, "The Human Touch" and the loopy blowout, "Ganymede," but bounces back into freedom swing with "(be) Conversational." which makes Moons of Jupiter one of varied and engaging free jazz recordings of recent times.

Originally published in May 1998
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