Firehouse 12  45 Crown Street  New Haven, CT 06510  203.785.0468

Steve Swell


Performer's Website

Born in Newark, New Jersey, Steve Swell has been living, working and performing in New York City for all of his adult life. In an effort to find his own voice on his instrument and to learn to write and arrange in a style of his own, he has sought out, performed and recorded with many of the finest composers and improvisors in the city. He has recorded and toured with such diverse jazz personalities as mainstreamers Lionel Hampton and Buddy Rich, to so-called outsiders like Anthony Braxton and Jemeel Moondoc. Swell has 20 recordings as a leader or co-leader and is a featured artist on more than seventy other releases.

Swell first came to public attention performing with Makanda Ken McIntyre in the multi-instrumentalist's concert at Carnegie Recital Hall in 1985 of which Herb Boyd of The Amsterdam News wrote, "Swell possesses a foreceful, but mature sound...with a vibrant syncopation..." Later, Swell came to international attention while touring in Europe and recording with alto saxophonist Tim Berne and his group "Caos Totale." There are two studio recordings of this band on the JMT label. During this time Steve also toured and recorded with Joey Baron's "Barondown" which has three releases; one for JMT, one on New World and the most recent for the Avant label.

Even though he is strongly identified with the "downtown scene", Swell has been developing his style in the more so-called "traditional avant-garde" arena. Co-leading such projects as "Space, Time, Swing" with Perry Robinson, being a sideman in William Parker's "Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra" and working with other similar people has kept him on this circuit. Dave McElfresh of Jazz Now wrote in a review of drummer Lou Grassi's CD, PoGressions, "Swell's powerful trombone zooms in and out of the music like a plane diving at a target. Players like himself - and music like this - are to be thanked for the revival of interest in the instrument."

Firehouse 12 Performances

Ullmann/Swell Quartet Friday, April 8, 2011, 10:00p
Ullmann/Swell 4 w/ Hill Greene, Barry Altschul Friday, March 30, 2007, 10:00p
Nate Wooley and Blue Collar Friday, October 13, 2006, 10:00p

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