““Then & Now” is a gas! It’s all about top-notch musicians having a blast as Stewart and company will most assuredly have you tapping your toes, dancing in the living room or more importantly, feeling good about yourself! Four stars.” – Glenn Astarita, AllAboutJazz
“4 Stars… rambunctious fun.” – Down Beat Magazine
On “Bob Stewart: Then & Now”, his debut album for the Postcards label, Bob Stewart brings the tuba back to the modern Jazz ensemble. Through the use of various ensembles (with the legendary Taj Mahal, pianist Dave Burrell, a brass band, and a Jazz quintet), Stewart traces the migration and evolution of the music we know today as Jazz; from the west coast of Africa, through the Caribbean, into New Orleans, up the Mississippi to Chicago, and east to New York, where the music launched it’s influence across the globe. In doing so, Stewart redefines both the repertoire and techniques, bridging the gap from Then to Now. Stewart stakes the tuba’s claim to its rightful place in the music of the past, present and future.
“…covers an incredible range of expression… …open-minded musicality…” – JazzTimes Magazine
With the introduction of the walking upright bass in 1923, the tuba began disappearing from the Jazz ensemble. American Jazz tubist Bob Stewart brings the powerful, deep, and luscious instrument back into Jazz music. Having performed and recorded with a cornucopia of influential artists, such as Charles Mingus, Dizzy Gillespie, McCoy Tyner, Freddie Hubbard, Don Cherry, and Wynton Marsalis, Stewart has garnered a reputation as one of the industry’s best brass players. With this impeccable Postcards Records release, entitled “Bob Stewart: Then & Now”, Bob Stewart accomplishes his mission by creating an impressive album that connects the Jazz music of old to today, and in doing so helps thrust the Tuba and its bold, passionate echo back into the Jazz consciousness.
“Critic’s Choice.” – Billboard
“A top new jazz release.” – Business Week
|1. Hambone||Bob Stewart||7:08|
|2. Big Kneed Gal||Taj Mahal||5:21|
|3. King Porter Stomp||Jelly Roll Morton||3:07|
|4. You Don’t Know What Love Is||Don Raye and Gene DePaul||7:39|
|5. Rambler||Bob Stewart||6:51|
|6. Fishin’ Blues||Taj Mahal||4:03|
|7. Nette||Carlos Ward||5:30|
|8. Tunk||Bob Stewart||6:23|
|9. Law Years||Ornette Coleman||2:44|
|10. Nubian Stomp||Carlos Ward||6:28|
Bob Stewart: Tuba
Dave Burrell: Piano (on 4)
John Clark: French horn (on 1, 3, and 5)
Stanton Davis: Trumpet (on 1, 3, and 5)
Fred Griffen: French horn (on 2)
Jerome Harris: Guitar (on 7 and 10)
Graham Haynes: Cornet and trumpet (on 7 and 10)
Taj Mahal: Vocals and guitar (on 2 and 6)
Aaron Scott: Drums (on 4)
Marshall Sealy: French horn (on 2)
Steve Turre: Trombone (on 1, 3, and 5)
Carlos Ward: Alto sax saxophone (on 7 and 10)
Buddy Williams: Drums (on 1, 3, 5, 7, and 10)
James Zollar: Trumpet (on 1, 3, and 5)
Produced by: Ralph Simon
Executive Producer: Sibyl R. Golden
Total Time: 54:54 minutes
What the Critics Say:
“Bob Stewart is one of a select few who have catapulted the tuba into more of a prominent role within jazz and modern music circles. With that, Stewart enlists a mighty impressive cast of jazz musicians along with the legendary folk-blues singer/songwriter, Taj Mahal on “Then & Now“.
Stewart handles the bottom end without the utilization or perhaps, requirements of a bassist as he drives the band forward on “Hambone” which is a New Orleans style R&B/Funk number featuring brassy choruses from the horn section. Stewart is poetry in motion continuing on Jelly Roll Morton’s classic “King Porter Stomp” as you can taste the New Orleans heat and humidity through the pumping lines, festive horn arrangement and rich lyricism. Throughout, Stewart is the traffic cop as the brass section consisting of trumpeters James Zollar, Stanton Davis, trombonist Steve Turre, French hornist John Clark and others are more than just your ordinary second line pocket band!
Mr. Stewart performs a duet with Taj Mahal on Mahal’s “Fishin Blues” as you could easily visualize the duo sitting on the banks of the Mississippi River trying to catch some fish while Mahal blissfully sings the time away… Alto saxophonist Carlos Ward’s composition titled, “Nette” boasts a sprightly combo funk/swing motif while the musicians perform a brief yet sonorous and somewhat introspective rendition of Ornette Coleman’s “Law Years”.
“Then & Now“is a gas! It’s all about top-notch musicians having a blast as Stewart and company will most assuredly have you tapping your toes, dancing in the living room or more importantly, feeling good about yourself! Four stars.” – Glenn Astarita, All About Jazz Review
Comments from Bob Stewart:
“Redefining the tuba’s place in jazz has been a growth process for me,” notes Stewart. “Of course, I’ve been influenced by tradition, such as those of New Orleans and Surinam, and by musicians such as Thelonius Monk. But in addition, by playing with other musicians – Gil Evans, for example, helped me expand the vocabulary for the tuba – live been able to observe their perspectives on what the tuba can do and where it can go. And some of my influences have been unexpected: when I saw how organ player John Patton plucked the keys with his left hand, I thought of doing the same sort of thing with the tuba.”
Stewart plays regularly with many of the musicians from “Then & Now”, as well as with other artists, both in live performances and in the studio. He put together a tuba spectacular for the JVC Festival at La Villette in Paris that featured his band, a Surinamese group, and a New Orleans street band. He is also an educator: his high school students won the Essentially Ellington contest run by Jazz at Lincoln Center in the spring of 1996.
“I am grateful to the many talented musicians who have joined me on Then and Now in showcasing the tuba’s musical growth from a traditional brass ensemble through the blues and up to the modern jazz quintet,” concludes Stewart. “As I listen to the music we recorded for this album, I look forward to the future. It has given me new ideas on where the tuba needs to go in its continuing evolution.”
About Bob Stewart:
Bob Stewart (born February 3, 1945, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota), is an American jazz tuba player. He received his Bachelor of Music Education degree from the Philadelphia College of Performing Arts and his master’s degree in education from Lehman College Graduate School. Stewart taught music in Pennsylvania public schools and at the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Performing Arts in New York City. He is a professor at the Juillard School and is a “distinguished lecturer” at Lehman College.
Stewart has toured and recorded with such artists as Charles Mingus, Gil Evans, Carla Bley, Muhal Richard Abrams, David Murray, Taj Mahal, Dizzy Gillespie, McCoy Tyner, Freddie Hubbard, Don Cherry, Nicholas Payton, Wynton Marsalis, Charlie Hayden, Lester Bowie, Bill Frisell and many others in the United States, Europe, and Eastern Asia.
He was a frequent collaborator with saxophonist Arthus Blythe from the 1970s into the early 2000s, often taking the place of the string bass that traditionally supports a jazz ensemble. In their review of Blythe’s album “Lenox Avenue Breakdown”, the editors of The Penguin Guide to Jazz called Stewart’s title track solo “one of the few genuinely important tuba statements in jazz.”