– Steve Swallow Quintet – London Jazz Festival 2011 – Nov. 18, 2011 – BBC Radio 3
I originally ran this a few years ago, but like all the posts from my previous site, the sound was adequate, but not as good as it could be. And in the case of this concert, the beauty of the sound is what makes a huge contribution to the overall enjoyment of this very satisfying and enjoyable experience.
Having been a Steve Swallow (and Carla Bley) fan for many years, visiting their work and collaborations again via this 2011 gig just solidifies my impression that both Swallow and Bley are perpetual innovators, and their work hits so many resonant emotional chords that I find one listening to this concert not nearly enough. And the hour vanishes, seemingly within seconds.
My only wish is that this concert made an official release (or hopefully will be). There is always a huge difference between experiencing an artist or group in a controlled studio context and experiencing them in a live-as-it-happens one. Not to slag off the conventional recording atmosphere, but there is something added when an artist plays in front of an audience – the energy exchange. Everything has a certain unmistakable edge to it that can’t be duplicated under controlled conditions. Mistakes, or flubbed notes often times take on lives of their own – and as was so often explained to me in the past, it very often paves a path of discovery not experienced before. I’m sure some artists would have a different take on that, but since we’ve arrived at a point in our technical expertise where perfection is something that can be arrived at easily, the no-holds-barred/flying-without-a-net aspect is a whole new experience entirely.
Regardless of studio-versus-live comparisons, this particular concert by The Steve Swallow Quintet is a hugely satisfying one.
Set aside some time and give this one a listen. And while you’re at it, check out the vast number of albums Swallow has been involved with. You really do owe it to yourself.
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