Live musical performances are gradually coming back in a mix of reduced-capacity in-person performances and livestreams. The Neil Swainson Quintet (west coasters all including the leader!) is doing a release concert tomorrow evening to celebrate the reissue of Neil Swainson’s terrific 1989 release 49th Parallel on the Cellar Music label. The original release on the Concord Records label was certainly an all-star affair with two American front-liners Woody Shaw on trumpet and Joe Henderson on tenor saxophone backed by a Canadian rhythm section with Gary Williamson on piano, Jerry Fuller on drums and the leader Neil Swainson on bass. It’s a legendary recording which features five Swainson originals and a contribution from Henderson (the deluxe CD reissue apparently adds one new piece) and is particularly notable as the last recording of Woody Shaw who passed two years later but was already in bad health at the time of the recording. (I know that Cory Weeds has long raved about this recording and I’m sure that it’s a dream come true to be able to make it available again!) Swainson and Shaw had met on the stand in Ottawa in the early 80s and worked together intermittently (including a European tour) in the time leading up to this date. Unfortunately with the passing of Gary Williamson last year, Swainson is the only surviving member of the original quintet.
The release concert happens tomorrow night August 18th at 7pm Pacific and features Sharon Minemoto on piano, Brad Turner on trumpet, Mike Allen on tenor, Buff Allen on drums in addition to Swainson. The in-person performance at Frankie’s is at capacity but livestream tickets are still available at Side Door.
The release is available for pre-order (180 gram vinyl, deluxe CD and digital) at Cellar Live and features new liner notes by Phil Dwyer, photos from Mark Miller and an interview with Neil Swainson himself. Check out the gig and I’m sure you’ll be sold on the music!