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Nice Day for a Swim by Ryan Mackstaller

Having begun as the Strange Brew Trio in 1999, the Ryan Mackstaller Trio was "rooted in the music of John Scofield, Monk, Miles Davis, and Rashaan Roland Kirk." In 2001, Mackstaller decided the trio should go a different direction and planned the release of original guitar trio music.

And here we are, with the release of self produced Nice Day for a Swim in 2002. Some of the tracks on this album strike me as being Ambient jazz, with mellow and/or melancholy tones, while some others have hints of Fusion. The artists do not hold strongly to any particular genre, which is probably why their music also appeals to people outside of the "jazz" fan base. Appearing to be somewhat thematic in nature, some of the tracks remind me of music played during a movie action sequence - sometimes the music can be tense, keeping the listener’s emotions on edge, while other times it can be mellow and soothing.

In my opinion, some of the tracks here are reminiscent of music by the contemporary rock band, Radiohead. Some may do a double-take when reading this, but Radiohead’s somber, yet heavy, style did come to mind when I first listened to the beginning tracks on Nice Day for a Swim.In addition, both bands are noted for their originality in style. Whatever my opinion is, this is an excellent album - Mackstaller shows masterful guitar playing, and the other two on acoustic bass and drums complement him very well. This may not be my first choice for easy evening listening, but it would be perfect for a mid-afternoon escape, or late night driving.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Ryan Mackstaller
  • CD Title: Nice Day for a Swim
  • Genre: Contemporary Jazz / Modern
  • Year Released: 2002
  • Record Label: Independent
  • Tracks: Fellowship, No Bailamos, Back in Five Minutes, Nice Day for a Swim, Requiem for a Dream, Sam Hill, Say What?, So Youre Leaving?'
  • Musicians: Ryan Mackstaller (guitar), Dan Kolton (acoustic bass), Steve Nistor (drums)
  • Rating: Three Stars
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