Andrew Swift – Swift Kick

There have been years when I received a few new releases early and am so blown away by a recording that I proclaim it to be among the best, new jazz albums for the year. It’s nearly midway 2012 as I write this, and no one CD has given me that feeling. However, in recent days, I’ve listened to several that belong in the “best of the year” category because of their freshness and overall music quality. Swift Kick (D Clef Records, 2012) by drummer Andrew Swift is in that class.

The 12-track release has five songs composed by the artist, and two by members of the ensemble. The mix-and-match lineup features 16 musicians and a hawk. Among the former are bassist Dwayne Burno, who appears on all but one track, and pianist George Cables.

The ominous “Kisor the Despiser” suggests a dark anthem for an unsavory character in an ancient work of fiction. But the only omen here is the sign of things to come – in this case, straight jazz with a lot of energy. Trumpeter Ryan Kisor is featured, along with composer Sharel Cassity, who also plays alto sax on the track. The two blend for the melody before taking turns out front. Cables also gets a turn. The tune is spirited, with a lot of activity in the background by Burno and Swift.

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