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Nelda Swiggett Quintet | The Alaska Suite: A Story of Beauty, Loss and Hope

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Jazz: Chamber Jazz Jazz: Orchestral Jazz Moods: Type: Instrumental
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The Alaska Suite: A Story of Beauty, Loss and Hope

by Nelda Swiggett Quintet

The Alaska Suite album tells a story about Alaska and beyond through the emotional medium of music -- featuring the original compositions of pianist/composer Nelda Swiggett and her 5-piece chamber jazz ensemble.
Genre: Jazz: Chamber Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Alaska
5:28 $0.99
2. Melting
6:17 $0.99
3. Burning
6:34 $0.99
4. Ocean
5:33 $0.99
5. Homeless
5:19 $0.99
6. Havoc
3:02 $0.99
7. Worry
6:34 $0.99
8. Hope Springs Eternal
7:31 $0.99
9. First Flight
6:24 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
"The Alaska Suite: a story of beauty, loss and hope" is a live performance that engages multiple forms of artistic expression — live music, spoken words, images and poetry — to connect audiences deeply and emotionally to the scientific realities of climate change. Ultimately a story of hope, the performance leaves audiences inspired to take action.

This CD recording documents the nine songs composed for the Alaska Suite. Track 1 celebrates the beauty and majesty of Alaska. Tracks 2 - 7 highlight the current impacts of climate change in Alaska and beyond. Tracks 8 and 9 reflect the power of hope to inspire positive change.

Why Alaska? While the earth has warmed on average about 2° F since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the Arctic is warming nearly twice as fast.  The impacts of climate change are significant and alarming in Alaska right now, and this should be a wake up call for all of us.

“… wonderfully inspiring… The content was informative without being preachy, the music was magical…”
— Gail M.

“… spliced with a dialogue about climate science and solutions. It touches the emotional edges of our understanding and invites action from a deeper place.”
—  Louise Stonington

NELDA SWIGGETT (piano, compositions) is a Seattle native, and spent her childhood hiking, climbing and skiing the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. Her father was a passionate explorer of the wilderness. From a young age, Nelda followed him deep into the heart of the Olympic and Cascade mountains, mostly off trail route finding with map and compass. Her love for the natural world started early and over time strengthened into a sense of urgency and personal responsibility to protect it.

When Nelda entered the University of Washington, she was a classical piano performance major until a serious ski accident landed her in a hospital bed in traction for two months. When she returned to college, she dropped out of the classical music program, fell in love with jazz, earned a Bachelor of Science in Scientific and Technical Communication, and embarked on a dual career as a technical writer and jazz musician. Who knew this combination of skills would later support her efforts to communicate the science of climate change through the power of music! 

Nelda formed her first band, the Room to Move Sextet, in 1990, and has since headlined her own group performing her original music at many of the Northwest’s top jazz venues.

“… a bright palette, a sinewy execution and a powerful, assertive command… the sound is all Swiggett’s: refined and confident, open and inviting.
–  All About Jazz

Nelda’s four prior CD recordings have received frequent airplay on Seattle’s popular jazz station KNKX 88.5 and around the globe.  Her melodic originals draw from a long list of influences, from jazz to Afro-Cuban, to gospel, classical and more. In 1998, her talent for composition was recognized by an Artist Trust Fellowship funded by the Washington State Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts. Nelda’s original big band arrangements have been performed by Seattle’s nationally recognized Garfield High School Jazz Band I, the Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra (SWOJO), and others. In 2015, Nelda's big band arrangement, “Cat Dreams,” won SWOJO’s international Jazz Composition Contest for Women Composers.

Other CD recordings featuring Nelda's original music:


“Gorgeous…a set of tunes with a warm electricity and a fluidity of motion that just carries the listener along….beautiful melodies…very beautiful recording. Highly Recommended.”
     – Wondering Sound Reviews

"Delightfully left of center…”
     – Midwest Record

"Swiggett has a unique touch…intensely appealing pianism…a voice with a depth similar to that of Abbey Lincoln…”
     – All About Jazz


“…a stunning project…held together by the highly original mind of Ms. Swiggett.”
     – JazzTimes

“…the sound is all Swiggett’s: refined and confident, open and inviting.”
     – All About Jazz

“Best Northwest Jazz CDs of 2010”
     – Jim Wilke, Jazz After Hours, NPR

>> NELDA SWIGGETT QUARTET | HANDS ON (1999 Moving Room Productions - CDBaby)

“Best Northwest Jazz CDs of 1999”
     – Jim Wilke, Jazz After Hours, NPR

“Refreshing and somewhat (Thelonious) Monk-like, the leader’s piano artistry and original compositions urge her quartet to the creation of an exciting session.” 
      – All About Jazz 

>> ROOM TO MOVE | NO TIME FOR DAYDREAMS (1993 Moving Room Productions - CDBaby)

“Inspired arranging . . . infectious rhythms . . .”
     – Earshot Jazz Magazine

JULIAN SMEDLEY (violin) started his music career as a choirboy in an English cathedral. As a violinist he performed regularly on BBC television and radio both as a soloist and an orchestral player. He co-founded the Bowles Brothers Band that recorded on Decca Records. Since moving to the West Coast of the U.S., he has performed with such artists as Art Lande, Ralph Towner, Gary Peacock and Gil Evans, and he was a member of the Bay Area’s Hot Club of San Francisco. Since his 2011 return to the Pacific Northwest, Julian has been performing with The Debutones, The Greg Ruby Quartet, and Julian and Alison, a jazz duo with his wife.

CLIF SWIGGETT (trombone, percussion) grew up in New York and started playing trombone as a teenager. He toured with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, played with the Clem DeRosa All-Star Big Band, and played lead bone in the McDonald’s Tri-State Jazz Ensemble. Clif moved to Seattle in 1985, and has since performed and toured with a wide variety of bands, including Room To Move, Cambalache, Caribbean Roots, The Brian Waite Band, Megabopolis, and Clif & Nelda’s little BIG Band (with his wife, Nelda). Clif is also co-creator (along with grammy-nominated vibraphonist, Stefon Harris) of the revolutionary Harmony Cloud™ app, currently being used by music students and teachers around the world to develop a more intuitive understanding of harmony.

CHRIS SYMER (bass) was well established in the LA jazz scene before moving to the Northwest in 2002. He’s since become one of Seattle’s top tier bass players, highly regarded for his versatile and sensitive musicianship. Chris has recorded, performed and toured with many of the world’s leading jazz musicians including Tierney Sutton, Ramsey Lewis, Roger Kellaway, Robben Ford and Bennie Maupin. Studies in jazz and classical performance have provided Chris with an ability to fit into almost any musical situation. His open minded approach has led him to the somewhat unusual practice of tuning his own double bass in fifths an octave below the cello, and he remains fascinated by the tonal palette this tuning provides.

ADAM KESSLER is a dedicated drummer, percussionist, and educator. He has performed in venues around the world, including Zimbabwe, China, Poland, Portugal, Cape Verde, Montreal, Mexico, and Israel. In 2006 he received a BA in Music from Cornish College of the Arts. While there he gained valuable experience through the study of jazz, Brazilian, electronic, middle eastern, and gamelan music. Adam performs regularly in Seattle, teaches privately as well as ensemble classes, and is an accompanist for Spectrum Dance Theater, and Pacific Northwest Ballet’s classes and outreach program.

JILL MCGRATH (poet) has been published in numerous journals, including The Seattle Review, The Hurricane Review, and Arnazella’s Reading List. She published a chapbook, The Rune of Salt Air, and is currently working on two poetry manuscripts.



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