This Time / Nelda Swiggett Trio (OA2 Records)

Nelda draws from a long list of influences on “This Time,” her first recording in a trio setting. The album brings her long-time bandmates, bassist Chris Symer and drummer Byron Vannoy, into the forefront as the trio glides and twists through a program of highly melodic original compositions.

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

All About Jazz
“. . . a bright palette, a sinewy execution and a powerful, assertive command. Swiggett’s atonal tendencies echo Monk and her percussive nature, Tyner. Taken as a whole, the sound is all Swiggett’s: refined and confident, open and inviting.”

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

Bill Moody, KSVY
“Top releases of 2010”

Bopndicks 10 picks, Dick Crockett, “The Voice” 88.7 FM
“Seattle based pianist Nelda Swiggett has a bright smooth swinging quality to her mainstream approach and a minimalist almost bare knuckles attitude. Her key strokes are bold and assertive, as if she knows exactly the direction of her music. And you feel it, directional-determined and cool. She has written all original compositions and three with lyrics. Her vocals are care free and warm, juxtaposed to her driving style on piano. . . Nelda Swiggett’s new CD, “This Time” is a fresh new breeze out of the Northwest.”
Earshot Jazz Magazine
“Clumps of notes. That’s how pianist Nelda Swiggett describes musical shapes that are the basis of her compositions. But don’t be misled by the word clump. The notes are not dissonant, grating or random. Her music is precise without being dry, clean without being dull, and light without being fluff. The sound is as clear, direct and crisp as the gaze of her piercing blue eyes. And behind those eyes teems a sharp mind that leaves plenty of air within and around those clumps.”
Earshot Plug: Nelda Swiggett Trio at Tula’s
“A few months ago, I had the good fortune of seeing this band in action. It was a true knockout performance; everyone on the bandstand brought her/his A-game and this mighty trio couldn’t have been tighter. It is easily one of the best performances I’ve seen this year.”

Blue-Eyed Painted Lady / Nelda Swiggett Stringtet (OA2 Records)

For her second OA2 release, Nelda invited veteran Seattle Symphony violist Rachel Swerdlow and cellist Walter Gray to augment her long time trio, with bassist Chris Symer and drummer Byron Vannoy, for a collection of Nelda’s original compositions. Creatively unfolding melodies with supple harmonies create unique soundscapes and the illusion of a larger ensemble. 

All Music Guide
“Swiggett’s playing throughout is a surprise — generally starting out calmly and melodically, but unveiling deeper layers of excitement and intrigue as the songs develop. There’s a lot to listen to here, and almost all of it is excellent.”

Dave Sumner, Wondering Sound Reviews
“Gorgeous jazz-with-strings recording by pianist & vocalist Swiggett, who offers a set of tunes with a warm electricity and a fluidity of motion that just carries the listener along … Swiggett’s vocal delivery is satisfyingly to-the-point, and behaves only as one ingredient, equal to all others in this very beautiful recording. Highly Recommended.”
All About Jazz
“Swiggett has a unique touch and intensely appealing pianism, and a voice with a depth similar to that of Abbey Lincoln …  Clever and fun listening.”
Gerard Marciano, Beautiful Swinging Chamber Jazz
“This is quite extraordinary … what a find. Chick Corea comes to mind; the group has a precise, melodic sound with a classically (and I mean classical) swinging sound that is just beautiful. This and Aaron Parks’ “Invisible Cinema” are the two best piano jazz recordings I have bought in some time … The viola and cello give it a chamber quality, but the group swings with a gorgeous, melodic, rich depth that is very fine indeed … Try this for background and you will put the paper down and close your eyes. This is what I always wanted Keith Jarrett to do. Now I don’t have to wait around.”
Chris Spector, Midwest Record
“A jazzbo trio mixes it up with a couple of local (Seattle) classical luminaries for a rolling thunder of a set that smokes along mightily with elements of pop and progressive rock in its grooves as well as its jazz base. Delightfully left of center, this is a fearless set that pushes boundaries and keeps on going. Smart stuff for smart listeners that like music that really takes them places.”
Lofton A Emenari, WHPK 88.5 FM, Chicago
“Under The Radar: 3 Recordings that merit considerable attention. Over the past year many recordings pass my desk, some good, some not so good. Here are 3 that did not gain appreciable wider recognition and acclaim in the mass market media yet are hall marked distinctively for speaking directly to our collective human condition …  2. Nelda Swiggett-Blue Eyed Painted Lady- OA 2 …Piano trio with string duo. An intimate bluesy jazz filled coloratura …”
George W. Harris, Jazz Weekly
“Pianist/vocalist Nelda Swiggett leads a chamber jazz team … through some exciting, quirky and swinging originals. Tensile and dramatic pieces such as “Thanks To Solomon” or the boppish “Hewett’s Blues” have the leader using either lyrics or wordless vocals while the strings pick, pluck and bow to boppish grooves. Gentle brushes sashay on the samba’d title track while the strings deliver pizzicato rhythms, and gloriously gentle waves of strings coalesce with jazz chops by the trio on “Ruby Knows.” Swiggett’s voice is quite flexible, going in and out on “Rainy Days.” Imaginative sound and visions.”
All About Jazz
“… an intriguing and successful combining of nightclub jazz and concert stage classical. This is no more “Third Stream” than it is pure classical or jazz. We are so far beyond these characterizations that we have yet to give definition to such art.”

The Alaska Suite:  a story of beauty, loss and hope / Nelda Swiggett Quintet

Nelda composed this collection of nine pieces for her live multimedia performance, “The Alaska Suite: a story, of a beauty, loss and hope.” This album is a studio recording of the music only. Featuring Nelda (piano/vocal), Julian Smedley (violin), Clif Swiggett (trombone/bongos), Chris Symer (bass), and Adam Kessler (drums). Track 7 includes the poem, “In Our Future,” written by Jill McGrath.   

Live Performance Feedback

“Congratulations on a powerful, unique, multi-sensory, beautiful and pioneering experience… this really is refreshing and arresting and it has limitless potential for other audiences…”  
 George Lawson

“The combination of the music, your spoken words, and the images was magnificent. What a beautiful way to communicate many facets of climate change, and to draw people in.”  
— Elizabeth Burton

“… the quintet’s performance was stellar… Many in the audience told us the haunting music and urgent message both moved them and motivated them to become more involved in climate activism.”
— Keith Ervin, chair of Green Buildings Now

Hands On / Nelda Swiggett Quartet

handson cover original

In 1998, Nelda’s talent for composition was recognized by an Artist Trust Fellowship funded by the Washington State Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her second album, “Hands On,” is the result of that financial and institutional support. This high energy session includes 12 of Nelda’s original compositions featuring Nelda (piano/vocal),  Brian Kent (sax), Chuck Bergeron (bass), Steve Hill (drums), and special guests Jim Sisko (trumpet) and Jeff Busch (percussion). 

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

All About Jazz
“Nelda Swiggett’s second recording as leader shows the Seattle-based pianist in a bright and creative light. Refreshing and somewhat (Thelonious) Monk-like, the leader’s piano artistry and original compositions urge her quartet to the creation of an exciting session.”

No Time for Daydreams / Room to Move Sextet

The Room to Move Sextet debuted on the KPLU (now KNKX) jazz stage at the Pike Place Market Festival in 1991 after a full year of rehearsing weekly in the basement of Nelda’s then Greenlake home. The group’s tight arrangements and original compositions were a big hit, leading to numerous festival and concert performances, including Bumbershoot and a KPLU jazz cruise. Band members: Nelda (piano/vocal), Rick Leppanen (bass), Brad Smith (trumpet), Dean Mochizuki (sax), Clif Swiggett (trombone), Chris Monroe (drums), and frequent special guest Tamara Wimer (vocals). 

No Time for Daydreams includes compositions by Nelda (6), Rick Leppanen (3), Chris Monroe (1), and one co-wrote by Nelda and Rick.

Earshot Jazz Magazine
“Inspired arranging … infectious rhythms …”