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Into The Woodwork

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Product details

  • Audio CD (17 Jun. 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: XtraWatt (ECM)
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 50,508 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Sad Old Candle 5:19£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Into the Woodwork 5:03£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. From Whom It May Concern 5:35£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Back in Action 5:02£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Grisly Business 4:43£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Unnatural Causes 2:49£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. The Butler Did It 2:53£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Suitable for Framing 4:26£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Small Comfort 5:29£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Still There 5:33£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Never Know 5:35£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen12. Exit Stage Left 3:47£0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Description

Product Description

Praising a previous incarnation of Steve Swallow's quintet, The Times described the band "as near a perfect display of small-group jazz - robust yet exquisitely poised". The description holds true for the latest edition of the bassist's quintet and its album Into the Woodwork. Swallow leads the group - including his longtime partner in music and life, Carla Bley, on organ - in multi-hued performances of a dozen original compositions from his pen. Recorded in the south of France, the album accommodates atmospheric grace and loping grooves, wry humour and understated virtuosity.

Hushed opener "Sad Old Candle" reveals the subtle beauties of this band, with Swallow and Bley joined in ensemble intimacy by saxophonist Chris Cheek, guitarist Steve Cardenas and drummer Jorge Rossy. "From Whom It May Concern" sees Cheek sing a sad-eyed melody on his saxophone, with a limpid solo from Cardenas to follow. It's Rossy to the fore in "Back in Action," with his funky solos defining the track. "Exit Stage Left" begins with the ever-distinctive fluidity of Swallow's electric bass - a sound that has propelled the veteran to the top of the critics and readers polls in DownBeat year in and year out. "Into the Woodwork" is jazz of character, with ingrained melody and warmth.

Steve Swallow has played with many of the major figures of contemporary jazz and post-bebop music, beginning in 1960 when he first met Paul and Carla Bley. Soon he was playing in the Paul Bley Trio, Jimmy Giuffre Trio and George Russell Sextet with Eric Dolphy. After playing with Gary Burton in Stan Getz's group, he joined the vibraphonist's band, playing in most of Burton's ensembles over a 20-year period. Swallow has performed on Carla Bley's recordings since 1978. His albums as a leader or co-leader have appeared on XtraWatt, WATT and ECM, and include Are We There Yet?, Damaged in Transit, Deconstructed, Real Book, Go Together, Swallow, Duets, Carla, Home and So There.

Personnel: Steve Swallow (bass), Carla Bley (organ), Chris Cheek (tenor saxophone), Steve Cardenas (guitar), Jorge Rossy (drums)


'It's consistently seductive - from the murmuring opener Sad Old Candle with its disconsolate sax-and-guitar dance, through the organ-churning swing of the title track and on to the bopping, unison sax/guitar blues of Unnatural Causes.' -- The Guardian * * * *

'Few people can mark time as beautifully as veteran bass guitarist Steve Swallow. Here, over the course of a dozen succinct originals Swallow sets out his compositional stall with a superb new group... the ever subtle Swallow quietly explores the lyrical, romantic side of post-bop.' -- The Irish Times * * * *

'One of the most acclaimed bassists of modern times...his unmistakable trademark, though, is the sound of this band - agile and glancing, with beautiful, springy rhythms. At the centre of it is the remarkable Carla Bley, tying everything together with the merest wisps of harmony on the electric organ. The whole band play with rare fluency and ease.' -- The Observer * * * *

'Cheek's soft, focused tone and uneasy lines are a delight...the dominant voice is that of organist Carla Bley. Her intriguing textures and sense of space permeate every track and emphasise the dark corners and unexpected angles of Swallow's music.' -- Financial Times * * * *

'Certainly a highpoint in Swallow's latter-day example of good humour translating into good music.' -- Jazzwise

'Swallow's stellar band address his often deceptively simple-sounding themes with wry wit, exquisitely tasteful vigour and carefully calibrated control...uniquely deft, propulsive bass playing...a delightfully unassuming but compulsively listenable display of state-of-the-art small-group jazz.'


Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dr.D.Treharne VINE VOICE on 5 Aug. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The label XtraWATT is an offshoot of ECM, and as such you would expect this album to be well recorded (it is, very well recorded) and also adhere to the strange delay in release that seem to mark it's family relation label. The was recorded in Pennes-Les-Fontaines in Novermber 2011, and only just released. If you like Steve Swallow compositions you know that you can expect well thought out charts and lots of room for everyone to stretch out. Quite apart from Swallow who sounds as good here as he did on that Jimmy Guiffre 3 album, the real "star" on this album is guitarist Steve Cardenas who weaves his way in and out of most of the tracks, sometimes mixed well forward and sometimes just insinuating his touch in small but well thought out contributions. As has been noted elsewhere Carla Bley on organ is enigmatic, but none the worse for the relaxed spaces that she fills. Truth to tell though, this is an ensemble album and the sum of its parts makes it a truly wonderful listen. I'm still allowing it to wrap itself round my ears with current favourites "From whom it may concern", "Still there" and the wonderfully laid back "Grisly business", which is the shortest of the tracks. It's not an album that will immediately blow you away (man!), but it's a well crafted and carefully arranged whole that will satisy over a long period. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Oneten on 16 July 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I am just getting to know this album having listened on the MP3 rip before actualy receiving the physical product today. There are typical moments of complex high end bass notes one comes to expect from Steve Swallow's unique style, then deep resonating rhythms on other tracks.
Carla Bley may seem to take something of a backseat role on organ but don't be deceived as this frequently peaks with delightfully humorous solos on tracks such as 'Still There'. Guitar by Steve Cardenas contains lots of melodious solos, some times not unlike a Metheny type sound, not by imitation but in a completely original and confident flow.
The quintet form an an overall atmospheric sound on such cuts as 'Sad Old Candle' and the stealthy sound of 'Grisly Business' ( if you have a taste for John Scofield's 'Spy vs Spy' then you'll love that one!).
Add Chris Cheek on tenor saxophone and the oft sensitive yet powerful drums of Jorge Rossy and this is one album that contains all the elements of the kind of Jazz that stays in your head long after the tracks have finished.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By JDX on 5 Sept. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
By and large I prefer Carla and Steve's joint ventures when she is in charge. I'm getting to like this more with repeated listenings. I won't be throwing this CD away.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 8 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Never enough 28 Aug. 2013
By B. Auerbach - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I never get enough of Steve Swallow's bass guitar playing and his compositions. This is another wonderful band anchored by Carla Bley's organ. Seriously fun and seriously serious.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Classy 21 Aug. 2013
By Speedy - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Carla plays only the Organ on these sessions giving the tunes a vintage sound yet never sounding 'old'. On the contrary, i think that most records by Swallow and Carla will still sound fresh and with an edge for many years to come. Great writing and playing (of course!). Steve Cardenas is a guitarist i had not heard but sure one to keep an eye on from now on. Chris Cheek and Jorge Rossy are also of a newer generation of jazz players which fit perfectly in this ensemble. The tunes are of the kind you'd come to expect from Swallow and Carla (written by Swallow) and the electric bass sound is still intact (the warmest, rounder and most up front bass sound you'll ever hear).

Another one to treasure and never let go.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Classic Swallow 18 Aug. 2013
By Peter N. Turner - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Great writing and excellent ensemble playing from the whole band. Love Carla Bley's organ playing (not heard enough.) Jorge Rossy compliments the music very well, conjuring up memories of Bob Moses' playing with Swallow at times, especially in 3/4.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Love or hate, swallow is a master 2 Oct. 2013
By Carla whitt - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Very different, just what to expect from swallow.
One of those that is so different that you keep going back to listen over and over
Quality of musicianship is something that is abound in jazz, but the type of musicianship played in those arrangements are so very good
Expect to either love or hate
That is what swallow does best
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Some old people who learned along the way. Listen to what they learned. Like something a youngster would do, who knows something 4 Sept. 2014
By Marco Buendia - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Steve Swallow and Carla Bley, two veterans of post Jazz-Age jazz music whose creativity has grown into a synthesis over time. They're now, probably, the principal male-female pair in jazz. In truth, I don't know how much Bley had to do with the concept and the scoring in this album; perhaps it's entirely Swallow's gig. But, like many fans, I've come to associate them.

Both are modern masters of the ensemble, and this album has and intensity of interplay that is easily the equal of Ellington's small units, the Thirties ensembles of Teddy Wilson, Mingus, Miles' Coltrane or Shorter groups, Sun Ra in the Fifties, you name it. Control of ensemble architecture and color is what stands out here.

Soloing isn't less striking, though. Swallow is second to none on electric bass, though less in your face than, say, Jaco Pastorius. The counterplay of the bass and the guitar of Cardenas (understated and excellent) is something I haven't heard before, quite. Everyone else is equally good, Bley as always humble, ego unasserted, but memorable. If only all musicians could get out of their own way like she can.

The entire album runs together, and I don't think it's just an engineering gimmick. There's a continuity of mood that at least equals any jazz record I've ever heard.

At least as good as any other jazz album from the last couple of years, and, though it's very ECM, I don't think you have to be an ECM junkie to like it.
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