By Ric Bang • Originally published in The Davis Enterprise, 2.4.10
Buy CD: The Seeker
Sean Nowell is a multi-degreed musician who is best known in the New York City area, but has traveled and played worldwide.
Born in Birmingham, Ala., he initially sang in a nationally touring a cappella choir and was exposed to vocal music from Germany, Eastern Europe and Africa. He composes — film scores, ballet, theater, big bands, combos — arranges and has played reed with numerous New York groups.
This album features a hard-swinging, straight-ahead jazz group consisting of Nowell on sax, clarinet and flute, backed by piano, bass, drums and, on some tracks, guitar and cello. This is a forceful unit with little subtlety; everyone drives consistently, even at the slower tempos.
Nowell wrote half the tunes, and each is pleasantly innovative. The rest are covers of standards such as “You Don't Know What Love Is,” “I Remember You” and “I Will.”
Fan of the East Coast jazz style will enjoy this group. It'll hold your attention and, most importantly, it swings!