Andrew Swift
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Andrew Swift

Mount Vernon, New York, United States | INDIE

Mount Vernon, New York, United States | INDIE
Band Jazz


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"All About Jazz - Track Review of "Understanding""

Drummer Andrew Swift belongs to a new generation of jazz artists that includes trumpeter Ryan Kisor and multi-instrumentalists Sharel Cassity and Michael Dease, all of whom join Swift on his debut recording, Swift Kick. These young artists are all well trained and steeped in tradition. However, tradition does not own their collective souls. All compose with a bright edge of intelligence and perform in the same way. This is smart jazz that does not brag or indulge in over composition or arrangement, meaning it is very listenable and enjoyable. Swift is joined on Swift Kick by other jazz luminaries such as trombonist/vocalist Wycliffe Gordon, saxophonist Eric Alexander, pianist George Cables, and vocalist Vanessa Perea.

It is with peer pianists Jeb Patton, Cassity and Dease that Swift properly gels. On the disc closer, "Understanding"—composed and performed by bassist John Lee—Swift demonstrates his rhythmic sorcery with a tom roll that gains traction on the smooth gravel of Cassity's bass clarinet, Patton's left hand, and Matt Garrison's baritone saxophone, all of which project Lee's complex bass line. Curtis Stewart's violin adds a bit of old world charm to this contemporary jazz piece, finding the triple point between Jean-Luc Ponty, Svend Asmussen and Michal Urbaniak. Patton provides a clean and cogent Fender Rhodes solo that eventually makes its way to a Dease solo on the electronic trombone. The two principles, drummer Swift and bassist Lee, guide the song to its crisp coda with certainty and confidence. This is a great bunch of young musicians.

Personnel: Andrew Swift: drums, timpani, electric guitar; Sharel Cassity: soprano saxophone, bass clarinet; Michael Dease: trombone, electric trombone; Tim Mayer: alto flute; Evan Sherman: percussion, gong; John Lee: electric bass, composer; Jeb Patton: Fender Rhodes; Curtis Stewart: violin; Matt Garrison: baritone saxophone; Tony the Hawk: hawk.

Record Label: D Clef Records - C. Michael Bailey - All About Jazz

"Audiophile Audition Review"

Andrew Swift – Swift Kick – D Clef Records DCR 155, 76:32 ****:

(Andrew Swift, drums, timpani, electric guitar; George Cables, piano; Dwayne Burno, bass; Wycliffe Gordon, trombone; Ryan Kisor, trumpet;

Eric Alexander, tenor sax; Sharel Cassity, alto and soprano sax, flute; Michael Dease, trombone, flugelhorn, tenor sax; Tim Mayer, soprano sax, alto flute; Evan Sherman, percussion; Yotam Silberstein, electric guitar; John Lee, electric bass; Jeb Patton, Fender Rhodes; Michael Thomas, alto flute; Curtis Stewart, violin; Matt Garrison, baritone sax; Vanessa Perea, vocals on #2, 7)

They say you can begin to judge the talent, and character of a musician by the company that they keep. Well if that is the case, Australian transplant drummer Andrew Swift has a lot going for him. For his debut CD for D Clef Records, he certainly has an all-star cast to send him off in the right direction. Just take a gander at the talent roster above to see who believes in the talent of Andrew. You occasionally find a guest artist helping out a newcomer to the scene, but on Swift Kick, Andrew has an “A team” of major talent helping out.

Swift is not a youngster at age 35. After completing his graduate studies in Australia, he moved to New York City to take a bite out of the Big Apple jazz scene, the premier testing ground for all jazz artists. Since arriving he has been a member of Sharel Cassity’s Quintet, as well as Matt Garrison’s Projection.

On Swift Kick, Andrew has composed six out of the twelve selections. Band members, John Lee and Sharel Cassity, have a composition each, and Swift shows his good taste and knowledge by choosing a Jimmy Heath, and Duke Pearson track.

Ryan Kisor is featured on Cassity’s tribute to him on “Kisor the Despiser.” It is a strong swinger and Sharel herself gets some solo time. The interplay between Cassity and Kisor is impressive. Vocalist Vanessa Perea, who brings to mind Flora Purim, sings on Jimmy Heath’s “The Rio Dawn.” Her vocal style is winning, and Yotam Silberstein’s guitar solo is first rate, while Michael Dease, (more known as a trombonist) has several choruses on both the tenor sax and flugelhorn. George Cables shows his piano chops have not diminished in the least.

Swift’s “Soldier” brings Dease back on trombone, and he and Ryan Kisor blend effortlessly. Swift propels the band with some deft stick work. On “Song for Sherin,” written for Andrew’s wife, Swift mixes some avant lines from Eric Alexander set off with a pretty melody, laid down by Dease on flugelhorn and Cables’ sparkling piano.

Duke Pearson’s “Is That So?” is hard bop heaven given a samba treatment. Dease and Alexander shine in their simpatico blend. “Alfie,” which can wear out its welcome easily, has vocalist Perea again winning converts, aided by Wycliffe Gordon’s sympathetic backing on trombone. Swift’s own “Baptized by Fire” lets Andrew step up to the plate to show his drumming skills, backed ably by bassist Dwayne Burno. Dwayne seems to be showing up everywhere lately, proving he has reached the upper echelon of Big Apple-based bass players.

Andrew’s “Goodbyes” has a lovely melody highlighted by George Cables, and Tim Mayer on soprano sax, as well as a well-recorded bass solo by Burno. I dug Sharel Cassity’s alto sax on “As the Deer,” where she brings to mind Phil Woods. Swift’s cymbal work drives Sharel along.

The closer, “Understanding” by John Lee, pulls out all the stops with jazz rock rhythms brought out by violinist, Curtis Stewart, the Fender Rhodes of Jeb Patton, and Michael Dease’s plunger on the trombone. A well-placed gong from Evan Sherman adds to the effect.

Swift Kick deserves radio play and exposure for Andrew Swift. His maiden voyage as a band leader is well recorded, the arrangements are solid, and his guests artists elevate this CD to a high level. Well done….

Tracklist: Kisor the Despiser, The Rio Dawn, Soldier, Slit Drum Interlude, Song for Sherin, Is That So?, Alfie, Baptized With Fi - Jeff Krow - Audiophile Audition

"Something Else! - Track Review of "Understanding""

Back in 1984 I purchased my first McCoy Tyner album, Dimensions, which was his current release at the time. Though I didn’t fully realize it then, this was a little bit of an unusual line-up for him. John Blake’s violin was a little out of character for a Tyner record although Blake appeared on a couple of other of his albums before this one. Sticking out more than that was John Lee’s bass because it was an electric bass, not an acoustic one, and Tyner typically keeps everything all-acoustic. But Lee’s bass gave the music a little more “oomph” and he worked the rhythm section well with the late drummer Wilby Fletcher (former Miles Davis sideman Gary Bartz completed this quintet on sax).

My favorite song on that album, one I still revisit from time to time to this day, is an original called “Understanding.” And it was Lee, not Tyner, who wrote that song.

Still, I always thought of “Understanding” as a song that stood out to me and really nobody else. After all, Dimensions didn’t go down as one of Tyner’s better known records, and the track itself was buried in the middle of Side 2. So, when I was checking out this upcoming CD by drummer Andrew Swift I nearly fell out my chair when the introductory chords of “Understanding” started playing on the very last track of this CD, Swift Kick. There is no mistaking that grand sounding entrance.

Which version is better? I’m always going to be partial to the original and Lee’s bass sparkles more on it, but there’s some cool things going on in the new version, thanks to a nifty arrangement by Swift, producer Michael Dease and Thomas Barber.

Yes, the song is played much the same way, following Lee’s alternately funky and elegant melody parts just as it’s played on the Tyner recording. The departures come how the bands performing each rendition are set up: Tyner with his quintet and Swift with … well, what do you call ten players? A great collection of players, too, including Swift, Dease, Sharel Cassity on soprano sax, George Cables on piano, Tim Meyer on flute, Jeb Patton on rhodes, Curtis Stewart on violin and Matt Garrison on baritone sax. And, Lee himself reprising his role on electric bass. Cassity and Patton get in good solos but Dease’s electric trombone solo is the high point of the song, partly because an electrified trombone is such a rare sound and partly because Dease is playing is on fire.

We always like it when someone agrees with us. I’m glad that Andrew Swift found this hidden gem of a song called “Understanding” very attractive, too. - S. Victor Aaron - Something Else! Reviews

"Urban Flux Review"

Where do I begin? Let’s get right to it, imagine this a young kid with chopsticks, pots and pans with a sense of rhythm was the interlude, vision and seed planted by drummer, composer, and educator Andrew Swift. With his debut “Swift Kick,” you’ll find this body of music immersed in the womb of traditional jazz yet it’s intertwined with the integral musings of modern jazz unveiled by the folks at D Clef Records.

Like many aspiring musicians Andrew started his quest off at an early age. In fact, as a fifth grader he began in a new school and joined the school’s band program. Andy pursed his gift with persistence and paid off for him after a conversation with the band director Swift ultimately decided that he wanted to play drums and of course the rest is history.

A native Australian, Swift completed his undergrad studies to eventually continue music performance classes at the Australian Nation University. As any good steward of his craft Swift eagerly set sail and landed in music mecca of the world New York. Fortunately from him Andy shared the stage with a variety of incredible musicians including George Cables, Wycliffe Gordon, Bob Stewart, Peter Bernstein and many more.

“Swift Kick” is produced by trombonist Michael Dease it features the usual suspects and principle players in today’s jazz: George Cables, Eric Alexander, Wycliffe Gordon, Ryan Kisor, Michael Dease, Sharel Cassity, Dwayne Burno, Tim Mayer, Evan Sherman, Jeb Patton, Matt Garrison, Curtis Steward, Tony the Hawk and Yotam gave their undivided attention to twelve sterling compositions which equals just over seventy minutes of pure jazz.

The sonically intense “Kisor,” penned by saxophonist Sharel Cassity also features one the New York’s hottest trumpet players Ryan Kisor. The ensemble jump starts the session and swings with absolute authority. Out of the box, it dawned on me if this gem is any indicator of what this album is about, these guys are about the business of driving it home by properly layering the colors of bop, jazz and swing.

Swift and company switches gears in tempo with a Jimmy Health tune called “The Rio Dawn,” at the second spot which features vocals by Vanessa Perea and guitarist Yotam. If you’re hip to Latin or Brazilian jazz this song surely adds the right combo of color and texture to the mix.

“Swift Kick” is aurally washed, dipped and stirred with respectable timbre and attitude grounded in classic jazz. The accessible bounce of “Soldier” speaks volumes as these gate keepers featuring Kisor, Yotam and trombonist Michael Dease preserve the right to keep the color of jazz alive and should I say kicking?

At the five spot, the impassioned “Song for Sherin” possesses the spirit of jazz in order to retain the bravado inhabited in these prophetic and prominent voices. As featured soloist saxophonist Eric Alexander and Dease on trombone effectively compliment the fruits of this gem by influencing this song with their skills and expertise.

The sweet tone of the horns are syncopated by featured soloist Alexander and Dease, together they generate an exhilarating swag that beckons the ensemble to never abandon the possibility of taking a jewel like this to the next level on the samba induced tune originally pen by the legendary Duke Pearson titled “Is That So?”

It’s always great to hear young musicians delve into and re-invent the image of classic sounds and do it with a few surprises entrenched on “Baptized with Fire,” compose by Swift. In this collaborative effort the fabulous interplay by the ensemble burns with brute force and melodic intensity features the gifted Kisor, Cassity, Dease and Swift’s fiery solo on skins swings with spontaneity.

With four remaining selections in store, Swift and the crew continues to amaze. “Swift Kick” is compositionally and artistically executed with precision as articulated on the sassy “Brandy” a vocal piece features Mr. Wycliffe Gordon. “Goodbye” is another song authored by Swift this gorgeous ballad features the incomparable George Cables on piano with Dwayne Bruno and Tim Mayer.

Impressive musicianship is the stable and most meaningful in this relationship is their ability to compose meaningful compositions an allow themselves (others) to unleash their very souls in the song makes it all worthwhile. Saxophonist Sharel Cassity the leader of her own band that Andrew plays and tours with clearly states her case on “As The Dear,” if you haven’t heard her play you’re in for a treat.

To my surprise, I was totally amazed that Swift summon songwriter and bassist John Lee to the project. A power player from back in seventies, Lee wrote a harmonically rich composition and make it relevant for a new generation of listeners. My, my, my this is no doubt one of my favorite tunes it features violinist Cutis Steward, Dease and Cassity. The ensemble unites to preserve the essence of this movement with an electrifying voice on “Understanding.” This song is a tribute to the era when jazz-rock ruled and gave cats like Gerry Brown [drummer] and John Lee opportunity and ample space to evolve as composers and musicians.

Perhaps in this age of imperfection in our society jazz in itself dwells in the valley of optimism. Jazz to me is always a road worth-traveling, discovering, and exploring the possibilities revealed in new music. In this case, I find jazz communicated with excellence while in concert this ensemble navigates they’re way through the poignant details, passages and harmonics in this collection impressively as we expect skilled musicians do. “Swift Kick” by Andrew Swift is undoubtedly a great find that’s if you adore classic jazz with a twist of modern jazz underscored throughout then I’m sure this one will quench your thirst.

–Rob Young | Urban Flux Media | Music Review - Rob Young - Urban Flux Media

"Midwest Record Review"

ANDREW SWIFT/Swift Kick: Well, here's the proof that the old line record business is over. This kid comes out of nowhere, rounds up a load of first call cats playing like they want to be there for reasons other than a paycheck and delivers a hard blowing date of old man jazz that you can tell from the sound and fury that it was recorded now. All this and he's the drummer! A hard hitting, front rank date that will open jazzbo ears in need of a new kick, it only takes one listen to this to have one listener tell two friends and so on, and so on... Most definitely one of those dates a real jazzbo will not want to miss. Killer stuff sure to top all those year end/best of lists.

CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record - Chris Spector - Midwest Record

"Richard Kamins Review"

Art Blakey was a dynamic drummer, visionary bandleader and carried the "hard-bop" torch for nearly 4 decades. In 1955, he and pianist Horace Silver formed the Jazz Messengers; a year later, Silver left to go solo and the band plus name belonged to Blakey.  Scores of great musicians passed through the University of Blakey, from Clifford Brown to Jackie McLean to Wayne Shorter to Keith Jarrett to Wynton Marsalis and on. Blakey drove the band, many of the songs featured smart melodies, strong solos and a relentless forward motion. 

Australian-born drummer Andrew Swift moved to New York City in 1988 and has worked steadily ever since.  Amazingly, "Swift Kick" (DClef Records) is his debut as a bandleader and shows a wide-ranging set of influences but always with the "beat" and the melody at the center.  He's organized a fine rhythm section, with George Cables (piano) and Dwayne Burno (bass) featured throughout.   Sharel Cassity, whose band Swift anchors, adds an arsenal of reed instruments while producer Michael Dease is heard on trombones, flugelhorn and tenor saxophone on the majority of the tracks. Guests include trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, trumpeter Ryan Kisor, tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, guitarist Yotam Silberstein and others.

Despite the rotating front lines, Swift's vision for the program never wavers.  The CD opens with the rip-roaring "Kisor the Despiser", with the song's namesake leading the way in tandem with Ms. Cassity on alto saxophone.  At high volumes, one can really enjoy the rhythm section's driving sound, the way the soloists maneuver through the changes and the excellent work of Cables (he's wonderful throughout.)  The next track, "The Rio Dawn", is from the pen of Jimmy Heath (from 2009's "Endurance" recording) and features the fine voice of Vanessa Perea as well as the expressive guitar work of Yotam.  There's a Horace Silver feel on "Soldier", with Kisor, Dease (alto trombone) and crackling guitar leading the way.  Again, pay attention to how the rhythm section pays attention - Cables, Burno and Swift are masterful in their support and knowing when to push. 

Wycliffe Gordon's expressive trombone shadows Ms. Perea on "Alfie" while it's his voice that gets the spotlight on the humorous, if a bit bizarre, "Brandy" (not the Looking Glass "Brandy" from 1972 but a tune from pop songwriters John Vastano and Peter Andreoli.)  

There are 2 interesting "curve balls" in the program, the first being the short (40 seconds) "Slit Drum Interlude"; here the name says it all.  The final track is the other "change".  Not only is "Understanding" the longest cut (9:02) but, with the exception of Ms. Cassity and Dease, features a different bassist (John Lee) and pianist (Jeb Patton).  Violinist Curtis Stewart is front-and-center while Swift also adds electric guitar. The results may remind some of the "fusion" jazz-funk of the 1970s.

"Swift Kick" may not always have the "boom" of hard-bop but the music does have plenty of heart and soul. The solos are, mostly, short but the musicians make the best of the spotlight.  Underneath it, the rhythm section is truly fine.  For more information, go to  - Richard Kamins -


As a leader:
"Swift Kick", Andrew Swift, D Clef Records

As a sideman:
"Blood Songs", Matt Garrison, D Clef Records
"Con Campbell", Con Campbell, Morrison Records
"Waterfalls", Harold Lubke, MHL Music
"Deliberate Praise", AMCOGIC Music & Arts Ministry
"Together Again", Rev. Robert Lowe & Generations, KOCH Records
"Restoration", Eric McDaniel and The TLC Cathedral Choir, My 3 Girls Music
"I Am Favor", Eric McDaniel



Chopsticks. Folks generally eat with them. Matter of fact, so does Andrew Swift. However, long before learning to eat with chopsticks, Andrew used them as makeshift drumsticks, playing on the family’s pots and pans. Unfortunately the chopsticks couldn’t stand his fervor and the lack of any other suitable drumming implements forced him into musical retirement as a small child.

Fast forward to the Fifth Grade. Andrew began at a new school that had a band program. Imagine Andrew’s delight when he discovered that playing in the school band occasionally meant missing academic class time. Never being one to adopt an irresolute attitude, he immediately spoke to the band director who said that the band could use another drummer. That was it. Andrew Swift was going to play the drums.

From that point on, Andrew participated in every musical activity possible. One day at a high school band concert, he happened to overhear an older drummer say something about a university jazz studies course. Early aspirations of a respectable career in architecture or accounting were abandoned as Andrew decided playing music would be an interesting way to make a living.

Andrew completed undergraduate and graduate studies in music performance at the Australian National University. In 1998, he moved from his native Australia to New York. Since that time, he has been fortunate enough to share the stage with many people he admires such as George Cables, Wycliffe Gordon, Bob Stewart, Peter Bernstein, Sharel Cassity, and Michael Dease amongst many others. He is currently the drummer in the Sharel Cassity Quintet and the Matt Garrison Projection, and his drumming can be heard on nationally (USA) syndicated television commercials for Select Sector SPDRs.

In addition to playing, Andrew composes, arranges, and enjoys the production side of music - especially mixing. He also dabbles in CD cover artwork design. When he isn’t doing all of that, he can be found teaching elementary school students about drums, music and technology. On Sundays he plays guitar and directs the band at his church, and during the week he enjoys cooking for his amazing wife and kids...and eating with chopsticks.