There is the tried and true. And there is that which is off the beaten
path. Bill Stewart takes the latter approached with Space Squid
(Pirouet Records, 2016).
Drummer Bill Stewart is accompanied by Seamus Blake, tenor and soprano
saxophones; Bill Carrothers, piano; and Ben Street, bass.
“Paris Lope” was inspired by a mid-day walk from a hotel to a Parisian
club for an afternoon of practice before a gig. The mood of the music is
such of taking one’s time to get from here to there. You have to go. No
sense crying about it. Besides, when you get there, it’s all for the joy
of creating music. It’s just that you don’t really get into the journey.
Or do you? The pace is slow and unadventurous. However, Blake’s tenor
and Carrothers’ piano offer some interesting, if not exciting,
diversions along the way.
In contrast is “Happy Walk,” a lively piece that again features Blake on
the tenor. But rather than a constant strut, it’s a dart here, a hop
there, a flit and a skip. One can imagine an adult revisiting youth,
playing in the neighborhood park. Street and Stewart are firmly engaged,
whether backing Blake or backing Carrothers. Stewart gives the kit a
full, syncopated workout behind Blake’s closing solo.
Stewart says he named the album Space Squid because he likes
the sound of the title and he’s slightly fascinated with the squid and
the octopus. “They can also be delicious,” he says.
Stewart’s career has seen him work with such artists as Maceo Parker,
Lee Konitz, John Scofield, Joe Lovano and Dave Holland. He has also been
a sideman to Carrothers and to pianist Marc Copland. Stewart composed
all 10 originals for this set, which includes one cover.