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Bill Stewart: Incandescence

Among the modern pride of relatively young lions in jazz drumming, Bill Stewart’s name isn’t mentioned often enough. The 41-year-old Iowa native has excelled both live and in the studio with guitarists John Scofield, Pat Metheny and Jonathan Kreisberg, and has a sporadic 20-year recording career as a leader. Incandescence is the second release by his current trio, the makeup of which shows the drummer’s creativity; it’s an organ trio featuring Hammond ace Larry Goldings, but the third member isn’t a bassist-it’s pianist Kevin Hays.

Yet the results often straddle the fence between unpredictability and inconsistency. The 10/8-timed opener “Knock on My Door” holds interest through its interactive playfulness, but only for about half of its nearly eight minutes. “Toad” offers a more traditional swing feel, and Goldings’ left-hand bass tones have both warmth and fullness, but the seven-minute track also fizzles before its coda.

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