Album Remarks & Appraisals:
Philip Swanson maintains a distinguished career as a trombonist, pianist, organist, composer, conductor and teacher. He appears frequently in concert as a solo pianist, performing his own works as well as his improvisations on jazz standards. He is associate professor of music at Salem State College and is music director of the First Congregational Church of Rockport, Massachusetts. The recording offers a series of reflections on Ikkyu Sojun's poem. It includes both original works and interpretations of works of other musicians.
Recording information: Gordon College, Wenham, Massachusetts (03/07/2009-03/08/2009).
Editor: Richard Price .
Photographer: David Stotzer .
Philip Swanson's 2009 album of piano solos, Ikkyu's Dream, is cast in the modal, quasi-improvisational style that is strongly associated with fusion jazz of the late 20th century, and the blurred harmonies and piquant sonorities that are rung from the piano will remind many listeners of the keyboard music of Keith Jarrett. Swanson's soundworld is delicate and evocative of reveries in nature and impressionistic scene painting, and the arpeggios, tremolos, and arabesques that decorate his melodies add soft, indistinct dissonances that drift into each other through the atmospheric use of pedaling. This album predominantly features compositions by Swanson, but there are also numbers by Miles Davis, Horace Silver, Chick Corea, and William Ackerman, and a lively adaptation of Rodgers & Hammerstein's My Funny Valentine, so the mix of standards and original pieces keeps the program varied and the listener engaged. The evenness of moods makes this a delightful CD for relaxation and quiet background listening, and Swanson's lush playing makes this a suitable accompaniment for daydreaming.~Blair Sanderson