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Courage
Signal to Noise review
This disc is something of a sequel to Home (1979), Steve Swallow's first outing as a leader and one of the more intriguing one-offs in ECM's catalog, where a sextet interpreted Swallow's settings of Robert Creeley's poems. While Sheila Jordan sang Creeley's texts on Home, The Way Out Is Via The Door features Creeley's own unpretentious reciting voice on several tracks. Between his poems, saxophonist John Mills, Swallow, and drummer Chris Massey offer gentle improvisation. Whereas Swallow's chord sequences on Home often evoked the more melancholy moods of Creeley's small-town characters, the music here suggests calm acceptance of the poet's conclusions ("No one's chance / is simply changed by wishing, / right or wrong. / What you do is how you get along"). Swallow has only two solo composition credits (a bass solo and a revisiting of his "Hullo Bolinas"), but he makes a typically skilled and self-effacing musical contribution to the trio.
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