Friday, April 30, 2021

Dave Sewelson, More Music for a Free World


Baritone saxophonist Dave Sewelson shows what he's made of on a quartet date he leads that's worth checking out. It's called More Music for A Free World (Mahakala Music MAHA 20-002). It features three collectively improvised, expansive tracks that allow all to stretch out and explore open-ended quartet possibilities.

Each of the quartet operates in a meaningful free musical space that plays off against the others to create long-form dialogs both exciting and moving. The quartet is in a finely creative frame so that all rise above the mundane world and make great improvisational sense. So Sewelson's baritone sax asserts itself and enters in a sublime musical conversation with Steve Swell's trombone, William Parker's contrabass and Marvin Bugalu Smith's drums.

It's freedom with a substantial dose of jazz inflection--Sewelson cleaving to open yet bluesy and soulful phrasings that loosely yet surely unfold to bring space for Swell's always open excitement, William's always meaningful bass lines and Marvin Bugalu's swinging but loose drum shaping.

It is music with that happy togetherness where each artist understands the space they are occupying and work their way to a mutual hipness, a set of expressions that mark the best of Jazz-directed freedom.

Baritone and trombone carve out a special front line, but then bass and drums take up rhythm team movements that have both a free time playing and a complimentary third and fourth line role to play in the totality.

As we listen we get an excellent slice of Dave Sewelson the consummate baritonist with a beautifully gruff tone, a spontaneous tumbling and swinging sureness and an inventive presence that Swell, Parker and Smith respond to wonderfully well in kind and in contrast.

This is inspired music making from first to last.  It confirms Dave Sewelson as an important voice on the baritone while giving us one of the finest improvisational quartet sets that I've heard in a long time. Each solos meaningfully and the sum total is a climbing over the top of possibility to extend a collective meaning rewarding and exciting to hear.

Bravo! Check this one out for sure if you can.

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