JJ 02/93: Steve Swallow – Home

Thirty years years ago Derek Ansell enjoyed Swallow's settings of Robert Creeley's poetry for a band including Sheila Jordan and Steve Kuhn. First published in Jazz Journal February 1993


Ten poems by Robert Creeley are here set to music by bassist Swal­low and given an atmospheric interpretation by the six musicians. I include Sheila Jordan as a musician rather than a vocal­ist as her lines are so close to an instrument and her voice is blended into the fabric of this music, becoming an integral part of it.

Steve Kuhn’s twinkling, dia­mond bright piano solo on Colors establishes the musical climate on this piece and dominates it throughout.

Home begins with lithe voice from Ms Jordan and segues into a trenchant tenor segment from Liebman. Rumbling drum pat­terns introduce In The Fall and thick piano chords herald a stark tenor solo which builds into a compelling free form statement before Sheila Jordan provides contrast with her expressive, warm vocal tones.

Shades of deep blue penetrate the theme of You Didn’t Think with Sheila singing in a straight ahead manner for once and Lieb­man again building an impres­sive solo statement. Electric bass and synthesizer combine for an eerie sound spectrum on Ice Cream.

Swallow’s compositions com­plement the poems beautifully and he is served splendidly by his cohorts. This CD will appeal to anybody who loves jazz and poetry and even if you don’t it is still heartily recommended. Derek Ansell

Some Echoes; She Was Young; Nowhere One; Colors; Home; In The Fall; You Didn’t Think; Ice Cream; Echo; Midnight (42.23)
Steve Swallow (elb); Sheila Jordan (v); Steve Kuhn (p); David Liebman (ts/ss); Lyle Mays (syn); Bob Moses (d). NYC, September, 1979.
(ECM 1160 513 424 2)