NELDA SWIGGETT TRIO (see also Stringtet)
Nelda has performed with top tier Seattle jazz musicians Chris Symer (bass) and Byron Vannoy (drums) since 2006. Their 2010 CD of Nelda’s original music, This Time, was released on Seattle’s award winning jazz label OA2 Records. This Time garnered strong reviews and fans for Nelda’s music around the globe.
… a stunning project, put together by three imaginative swingers … held together by the highly original mind of Ms. Swiggett.
Listen: Nelda Swiggett Trio
Stringtet performs Nelda’s original music arranged for the Nelda Swiggett Trio plus viola and cello. Nelda met veteran Seattle Symphony musicians Rachel Swerdlow (viola) and Walter Gray (cello) when Rachel’s triplet boys became friends with her son in middle school. Intrigued by the sound of strings, Nelda was inspired to invite these two exceptional musicians and friends to join her long-standing trio with bassist Chris Symer and drummer Byron Vannoy. The five-piece “Stringtet” debuted soon after at the 2011 Earshot Jazz Festival. Nelda’s fourth CD, Blue-Eyed Painted Lady, was recorded by Stringtet in 2013, and released nationally by OA2 Records in 2014.
“Gorgeous … a set of tunes with a warm electricity and a fluidity of motion that just carries the listener along…”
– Wondering Sound Reviews.
Listen to Stringtet
About the Musicians
Nelda Swiggett (band leader, piano, vocal, composer/arranger) began her formal musical training at age seven with a year of accordion lessons from her older sister. At age eight, years of classical piano lessons ensued, with the addition of flute in 6th grade concert band. Nelda entered the University of Washington as a classical piano performance major and a serious downhill ski racer – an unlikely combination that ended abruptly with a major ski accident and two months of traction in a hospital bed at Harborview. This traumatic event marked her exit from a serious classical career. In its place blossomed a passion for jazz. From 2001 to 2005, Nelda toured the Pacific Northwest and Alaska with one of the Northwest’s top salsa bands, Cambalache, and immersed herself in the rhythms of salsa, Afro-Cuban, and Peruvian music. Ten years of playing piano at her local church fostered a love for gospel and spirituals. Nelda’s music bridges these worlds and more. See also About Nelda Swiggett.
Chris Symer (bass) was well established in the LA jazz scene before moving to the northwest ten years ago. 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.
Byron Vannoy (drums) has worked steadily as a performer and educator on both the east and west coasts playing, recording and composing a wide variety of music. He has performed and recorded with many internationally known musicians, including Julian Priester, Herbie Hancock, Randy Brecker, and Ernestine Anderson, to name a few. Byron’s CD of original compositions, Meridian, was voted Earshot’s 2008 “Record of the Year.” “Vannoy is as impressive for his soft use of brushes as for the solo creativity he displays in a sizzling performance” (JazzTimes).
Rachel Swerdlow (viola) has been a violist for the Seattle Symphony since 1987. She attended the Curtis Institute of Music and has a BA in Music History and Theory from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and a Master’s in Music Performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. In the summers she plays at the Grand Teton Music Festival.
Walter Gray (cello) has been a featured soloist several times during his 32 years with the Seattle Symphony. “Gray played with his usual intensity and flair…the cello’s lyrical possibilities are realized” (Seattle Times). He is also an active performer, recording artist, producer and instructor outside his work with the symphony. He was a founding member of the Kronos Quartet; his new music ensemble Quake was recently featured in a performance at the Zagreb Biennale, Zagreb, Croatia; and his world travels include tours with the Odeon Quartet to Russia and the Liverpool Trio to Korea.