Called “one of the 25 most influential jazz artists of his generation” by DownBeat Magazine and a member of several earth-shaking ensembles, including Irreversible Entanglements and Heroes Are Gang Leaders, polymathic bassist Luke Stewart, a creative catalyst on the Washington D.C. (and beyond) music scene for almost two decades, introduces his protean trio with Chicago drum legend Chad Taylor and powerhouse DC saxophonist Brian Settles.
A casual observer of the Washington D.C. music scene could easily get the mistaken impression that there are four or five guys coincidentally named Luke Stewart playing leading roles in a disparate array of musical communities. In fact, Stewart is a singular, uncontainable artist whose work as a bassist, saxophonist, producer, broadcaster, and all-around mover and shaker has deepened and extended the District’s legacy as a hotbed for creative music.
Given his many pursuits, a single album can only capture a small portion of Stewart’s oceanic sonic continuum, but The Bottom offers a deep dive into a particularly inviting pool with his loose and limber trio making their debut here.
A highly cohesive triumvirate in close communion, the band plays with the conversational ease of longtime, comfortable friends. Untethered to any particular stylistic convention, particularly bebop’s head-solo-head format, the music’s ebb and flow feels utterly in the moment.
“I approached the recording session as closely as possible to playing a set, arranging the sequence with that in mind,” says Stewart, who was born and raised in Mississippi. “Like a set, compositions are coupled by moments of free improvisation, but that free improv is contextualized by what happened before and after. It’s a journey, and the recording session reflects that.”
released January 22, 2022
LUKE STEWART – Bass
BRIAN SETTLES – Tenor Sax
CHAD TAYLOR – Drums, Mbira
After a precision liftoff in Tabasco and setting a course to travel the space ways from planet to planet, the album peels away through a wormhole just past Saturn in the eponymous track Mayan Space Station to journey through time and space in Canyons of Light. eric F