The Washington Post Reviews
STEVE WOLF & SWING SPEAK
"Live In The Alley"
Yet it's the soulful tracks that will keep you coming back for more. "You've Changed," the Billie Holiday classic, features saxophonist Bruce Swaim playing tenor and waxing blue. It's a decidedly old-fashioned reading of the tune, the kind of performance that should delight anyone drawn to the full-throated lyricism associated with such seminal reedmen as Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster. "Blues for Ray Brown," a tribute to the late jazz bassist composed by Swing Speak bassist Steve Wolf and Swaim, eventually radiates a casual, finger-snapping air, but both Wolf and Swaim infuse the performance with great warmth and affection. Another highlight, Mike Mainieri's "Tea Bag," finds Swain in a more contemporary light, favoring a Michael Brecker-like slant and tone while the rhythm section turns up the heat.
In addition to Wolf and Swaim, who have collaborated with Danny Gatton, Tom Principato, Deanna Bogart and other well-known Washington-based musicians, Swing Speak features keyboardist-vocalist Tim Ford and drummer Barry Hart, who contribute personality and propulsion to the mix. --- Mike Joyce
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