Steve Swell - Live at the Bowery Poetry Club

Tom Sekowski, Gaz-Eta

Trombonist Steve Swell saw a disparity in various musical camps living in New York City. His main goal with the Nation of We [NOW] Ensemble was to bring together people from these disparate factions into one orchestra and make music for them that would speak volumes.
The piece, as performed live in January 2006 at the Bower Poetry Club, is entitled "Declaration of Interdependence" and is broken up into four parts. Building strength on ideals of tolerance, respect and peace, Swell's piece goes from strength to strength.
Featuring a strong trombone line up - Dick Griffin, Peter Zummo, Dave Talyor and Steve Swell, along with a blazing trumpet section - Roy Campbell, Lewis Barnes and Matt LaVelle - the band has the highs and lows covered.
In addition, the saxophone section is exceptionally strong with names such as Rob Brown, Will Connell, Saco Yasuma, Sabir Mateen and Ras Moshe. Pianist Chris Forbes plays impressive layered motifs underneath the rowdiness happening at the top.
Despite what would sound like complete chaos, bassists Matthew Heyner and Todd Nicholson are given a couple of opportunities to shine off on their skills [their duo on "Second Part" serves as a break-point and is highly commendable].
The way the music is written, each member of the Ensemble gets a fair chance to have at least a solo and show themselves off in an interactive duo or trio setting with other members. Though chaos is usually associated with these kinds of set-ups, there's none here. Sure, there are strong and vivacious solos, but overall, the interaction is flawless.
What we get is a very strong showing from this ensemble that will hopefully see more fruits in the years to come.