Sometimes there are great albums that just float underneath everyone's radar. Poor distribution, small label - or simply a band is just too far ahead of the curve for collector's to catch up. Sooner or later they do. That's just the nature of collecting music. Such is the case of Sway. Many years ago I stumbled across a copy of this obscure Italian album from 1973 and could not find any mention of it beyond one advanced collector mentioning "Oh yeah that's rare". At the time there was little interest from the rock community in modal jazz, souljazz, space jazz, kosmigroov - whatever you want to call it. Jazz collectors may well have been aware of the album but perhaps because the lineup consisted of relatively unknown (outside of Italy) musicians, no one really paid much attention to the album. I did my fair share of turning friends and collectors on to the album. Maybe it made a difference. All I know is that finding a copy of the album now is next to impossible.
So what the hell am I exactly talking about? Sway is a quintet led by noted jazz pianist Sante Palumbo (he's still going today!). The rest of the lineup consists of journeymen session players: Hugo Heredia (alto/tenor sax, flute), Sergio Farina (guitar), Marco Ratti (acoustic/electric bass), and Lino Liguori (drums/percussion). If you are a fan of electric Miles Davis or Weather Report you must hear this album.
Palumbo is the focal point of the band - his runs on acoustic and electric piano are breathtaking. This guy can tear of the keys. The music has that definite kosmigroov sound. Electric piano plays off of wah-wah laced guitar, some nice skronking sax (and at times gorgeous, liquid flute) and a rock solid rhythmic foundation. There are some parts to the album which have a slightly freer vibe but for the most part is quite accessible. If you listen carefully you might hear strains of a sound that bears a kinship to Canterbury.
New authorized reissue from Schema Records. BUY OR DIE!