Ricky Sweum | Pulling Your Own Strings

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Jazz: Modern Creative Jazz Jazz: Contemporary Jazz Moods: Featuring Saxophone
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Pulling Your Own Strings

by Ricky Sweum

This debut on Origin Records shows Ricky in a light of gratitude, paying homage to his musical heroes through a set of finely-tuned originals. Sharing his talents as a writer and creative force, Sweum leads his band in a direction that is uniquely his own
Genre: Jazz: Modern Creative Jazz
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Yesterday's Tomorrow
5:38 $0.99
2. Hot Sonny Day
5:05 $0.99
3. Nice Pants
7:45 $0.99
4. Pulling Your Own Strings
7:20 $0.99
5. The Dance of Ettenro
6:49 $0.99
6. Sunset Iraq
7:40 $0.99
7. Under Sonny's Bridge
5:17 $0.99
8. It's Indicative
4:29 $0.99
9. State of Acceptance
7:12 $0.99
10. Piebald City
6:01 $0.99
11. Ben & Jerry's Delight
4:37 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Ricky Sweum (tenor & soprano saxophones)
Wayne Wilkinson (guitar)
Jason Crowe (bass)
Henrique De Almeida (drums)

Produced by Ricky Sweum
Recorded by Matt Wimdholz, Mile High Music, Denver, CO on November 1, 2008
Mixed by Bob Dawson at Bias Studios, Springfield, VA
Mastered by David Glasser, Airshow Mastering, Boulder, CO
Photography by Jonathan Betz
Cover design by John Bishop


by Arturo Gomez, KUVO - Denver. August 2009 CD of the month. "This CD is a bop burner start to finish so make sure you enjoy your ice cream before you play this CD or else it will melt faster than you can consume it."

by C. Michael Bailey, All About Jazz. "It is refreshing to hear a tenor saxophonist escaping John Coltrane's gravitational pull to orbit around the Son. 'Hot Sonny Day' tips its hat to Rollins by existing as proto-bop over standard chord changes. This is about as old fashioned as Sweum gets. 'Under Sonny's Bridge' is suitably named for its nod towards Rollins' 'St. Thomas' and 'Global Warming.' It has a humid Caribbean feel that encourages swaying and dancing about. Wilkerson is a well-behaved acolyte of Joe Pass and Herb Ellis. His tone is precise and his playing accurate and clean, even at fast tempo. Sweum's music is sweetly unassuming while perfectly capable of attracting attention."

by Brent Black, Critical Jazz.com. "Ricky Sweum is a great deal more than your typical saxophone player! Pulling Your Own Strings is a rock solid release on the Origin label but it really is just a part time gig. Sweum has a full time position playing jazz with the United States Air Force band while currently stationed in Alaska, While the call of duty will soon have Ricky Sweum in Japan, I wanted to go back and take a look at record that swings all be it from a slightly different perspective.

In a recent conversation with Sweum, he speaks with great fondness and pride at some of the incredibly rewarding musical experiences that the average musician may miss out on. Sweum artistic juices become on some outside projects such as Pulling Your Own Strings where Sweum can dig deeper into his creative soul and personal expression. Soon Sweum will be moving to Tokyo where the jazz scene may be second only to New York City and the adventure and lifestyle of being a professional musical nomad while serving this great nation is an adventure that Sweum is a distinction he holds with great pride! Pulling Your Own Strings is about breaking loose but not necessarily free of the more modern jazz tradition. Sweum is developing his own voice and dare it be said the Ricky Sweum is an integral part of the future of post modern jazz in an all to commercially oriented world.

"Hot Sonny Day" is a personal favorite where Sweum expounds upon the legacy of the influence of the masters including Sonny Rollins, Lee Konitz and Charlie Parker. As and forever a searching artist, Pulling Your Own Strings is not about the groove but allowing your personal groove to set your own reality. In a very zen like observation Sweum states that we create our own reality. The world reflects what is going on in and around our being with our only option of controlling this sometimes superimposed destiny being that of pulling our own strings. "Sunset Iraq" is a magnificently created ballad and the possible theme of this tune is of soldiers fighting for freedom appreciating and looking at the sunset thinking of their home in the states where this same occurrence will soon be taking place. "The Dance of Ettenro" opens with a bright and breezy jaunt with Sweum on soprano and then the swing is kicked into overdrive as shifting meter and a unique harmonic development turn this tune into a sonic exploratory in overdrive. "State of Acceptance" is a deceptively understated ballad where the expressive tone and lyrical sense of purpose shine through as well as any on this release. Sweum pays homage to the legendary Sonny Rollins with "Under Sonny's Bridge" which is Sweum's original inspiration to play saxophone as Rollins would practise seemingly on an endless quest under the Williamsburg Bridge. A musical quest that while personal in nature is one that is of finding a sonic or artistic creative sense of peace while performing within the piece itself. A tune within a tune. A playful if not somewhat auto biographical end to this stellar recording is "Ben and Jerry's Delight." This tune is a staple in jazz clubs throughout the New York City. As an admitted "pint by pint" consumer of this tasty treat, "Ben and Jerry's Delight" makes perhaps the unknowing statement of acceptance that this indulgent along with say a constant dissection of the works of say Lee Konitz is a possible origin of his own muse.

There is a subtle energy, a musical current or sonic tide that easily carries the listener into the realm of the quest of the searching artist. This release was dedicated to the passing of the great Michael Brecker and given the variety, development and artistic vision this is indeed a release that would make Brecker smile.

An exceptional release of artistic independence and of intimate self exposure, Pulling Your Own Strings is an epic release. A musician that has found his musical happy place somewhere between where he is now and where his future will take him. We should all be so lucky!"

by Ken Dryden, All Music Guide. "Pulling Your Own Strings marks the debut recording as a leader for saxophonist Ricky Sweum, one of many up-and-coming or regional musicians gaining greater exposure on the Origin label. Joining him are guitarist Wayne Wilkinson, bassist Jason Crowe, and drummer Henrique DeAlmeida, also names likely to be new to most jazz fans. The songs are all originals by the leader, a gamble that often works against new artists who want to get airplay and reviews, though curious programmers and writers will be impressed if they give this release a hearing. The brisk bop vehicle "Hot Sonny Day" burns with energy through the potent tenor of the leader, Wilkinson, and the breaks including DeAlmeida. The calypso undercurrent in "Under Sonny's Bridge" also acknowledges his debt to Sonny Rollins. Sweum switches to soprano sax for his quirky "The Dance of Ettenro," which begins as a post-bop tune but ventures into free jazz territory. The bittersweet ballad "State of Acceptance" is well-named, a powerful piece that needs no lyrics to convey its message. Sweum returns to soprano for his intricate cooker "Ben & Jerry's Delight." Ricky Sweum shows plenty of promise with his rewarding debut recording."



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