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Incandescence by Bill Stewart

Drummer Bill Stewart’s musical persona is largely about grace, panache and enviable chops. Gaining notice while performing with guitarist John Scofield several years ago, the drummer spiraled towards the upper echelon of modern jazz notables, whether performing session work, or leading his own bands. A brilliant timekeeper, Stewart dishes it out from all angles during this 2008 release featuring the unorthodox trio setting of organ-piano-drums. And it all works like a charm folks.

The drummer is poetry in motion as he provides timely and colorific accents, while lashing out with sweeping press rolls and melodic fills. Moreover, Stewart’s novel technique looms as a near perfect match for the dual-keys lineup of Kevin Hays (piano) and Larry Golding (Hammond organ). Listen to the easy-going stride they project on the funk-groove opener "Knock On My Door," where the leader darts around the perimeter of a catchy hook. And during other songs and passages, Hays and Goldings trade solo spots while often merging their choruses into a given theme.

On the medium-tempo swing vamp titled "Toad," Stewart shrewdly counterbalances the core pulse by occasionally playing behind the beat. He helps generate an off-center type edge as the keyboardists strut their stuff. Strong soloing abounds on all fronts to nicely complement the top-notch material. At times, the trio reformulates quirky thematic propositions into brisk movements where everyone stretches out. But they temper the flow on the introspective and warm ballad "See Ya," featuring Golding’s delicate accordion lines. Otherwise, they pursue rapid-bop phrasings and bump/grind motifs to round out the winning formula exercised throughout this irrefutably, persuasive studio date.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Bill Stewart
  • CD Title: Incandescence
  • Genre: Various Jazz Styles
  • Year Released: 2008
  • Record Label: Pirouet
  • Tracks: Bill Stewart (drums), Kevin Hays (piano), Larry Goldings (Hammond organ and accordion)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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