in Newark, NJ, Steve Swell has been an active member of the NYC music
community since 1975. His breadth of versatility has allowed him
to tour and record with such mainstream artists as Lionel Hampton and
Buddy Rich in the past, as well as more contemporary artists like
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.
was nominated for Trombonist of the Year 2008, 2011 & 2020 by the Jazz
Journalists Association, was selected Trombonist of the Year 2008-2010
, 2012, 2014-2021 and 2023 by the online journal El Intruso of Argentina and
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
2010-2018 & 2020-2023. 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.
Steve's CD Music for Six Musicians: Hommage à Olivier Messiaen was listed in NPR's top 50 albums for 2018.
Steve is an inaugural recipient of a Jazz Road Tours grant (SouthArts.org) begun in 2019 and received a 2020 Creative Engagement grant (Lower Manhattan Cultural Council) for performances to take place in Manhattan.
In 2021 Steve received the City Artists Corps Grant (NYC).