Born in Newark, NJ, Steve Swell has been an active member of the NYC music community since 1975.  He has toured and recorded with many artists from mainstreamers such as Lionel Hampton and Buddy Rich to so called outsiders as Anthony Braxton, Bill Dixon, Cecil Taylor and William Parker.  He has over 50 CDs as a leader or co-leader and is a featured artists on more than 125 other releases.  He runs workshops around the world and is a teaching artist in the NYC public school system focusing on special needs children.

Swell has worked on music transcriptions of the Bosavi tribe of New Guinea for MacArthur fellow, Steve Feld in 2000. His CD, "Suite For Players, Listeners and Other Dreamers" (CIMP) ranked number 2 in the 2004 Cadence Readers Poll. He has also received grants from USArtists International in 2006, MCAF (LMCC) awards in 2008 and 2013 and has been commissioned three times for the Interpretations Series at Merkin Hall in 2006 and at Roulette in 2012 and 2017.

Steve was nominated for Trombonist of the Year 2008 & 2011 by the Jazz Journalists Association, was selected Trombonist of the Year 2008-2010 , 2012 and 2014-2016  by the magazine El Intruso of Argentina and received the 2008 Jubilation Foundation Fellowship Award  of the Tides Foundation.  Steve has also  been selected by the Downbeat Critics Poll in the Trombone category  each year from 2010-2016. His recording "Soul Travelers" with Jemeel Moondoc, Dave Burrell, William Parker and Gerald Cleaver was chosen as Album of the Year in 2016 by the New York City Jazz Record. His performance of "Kende Dreams" with Connie Crothers, Rob Brown, Larry Roland and Chad Taylor at the 2016 Vision Festival was cited as one of the best performances of the year by the same journal. This was also one of Connie's last performances. We miss her dearly.

Steve is presently a teaching artist through the American Composers Orchestra, Healing Arts Initiative , Mind-Builders Creative Arts Center (Bronx), the Jazz Foundation of America, Leman Manhattan Preparatory School and the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music.

Steve was also awarded the 2014 Creative Curricula grant (LMCC) for the project: "Metamorphoses: Modern Mythology in Sound and Words" which was taught in a month long residency at Baruch College Campus High School in Manhattan.


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