ambient to the avant garde


new record Winter Spring available now!!!!!

The good news……Winter Spring is officially out and available for you to purchase. We had our Seattle release of the record on October 5 at the Royal Room and the night was flat out magic. So many fine folks in attendance contributing to an impressive energy that allowed the music to flourish. We thank you all for this support. Now to the ones who were not able to attend we would love to get you a copy of the record. As you may know we decided to not release this record anywhere on the internet so the only way to hear it is to buy it directly from us. If you are interested the record is being sold for $17 at shows and for $20 as a mail order. Please email me at and I can forward a link for payment. Remember that this record is two full length discs worth of music capturing a live performance from last April of 2012 that included our special guest Robb Davidson laying obscene pads below us for the evening. It was too special to cut any of it so we released it in its entirety. The entire release for this is only 50 discs and each package was hand pressed and carefully crafted by yours truly. They will go quick and when they are gone they are gone.

Oct 5 at the Royal Room

Coming up next week we will be performing for the first time in over four months at Columbia City’s Royal Room. We will be opening up the night for another great Seattle group, Reptet, which similar to us is coming off a brief hiatus. This show will also mark a milestone in that we are releasing a double disc live album recorded back in April of 2012. A few key notes about this release…..we will only be releasing this record in physical form. It will occupy zero internet space so if you want a copy (only 50 printed!!!) please come out to a show or send money and I can mail them out. This direction is different than many musicians making their art readily available to anyone with a mouse, is something I feel incredibly important to the sustainability of the movement and the importance of the work. Following the release on Oct 5 I will post directions for anyone that lives outside the area and cannot attend to have a copy of the album mailed to your home.

Review of our Lo-Fi set at Smoke Farm

Here is what the Stranger had to say about our performance last weekend at the Lo Fi Art festival…..

Jazz sets by the Schwa in a far-off pasture—vibraphone, double bass, and reeds, including a bass clarinet—captured the spirit of Lo-Fi, as they played with their sonic environment and were visually framed by hillsides in various stages of logging (brown clear-cut, pale green new growth, slightly darker older growth). For one of their improvisations, based on the idea of “earth,” the bass player bowed his lowest E note, creating an almost percussive vibration while the vibraphone hummed on the high end of its register. The piece sounded like earth noir, the cold immensity of the third rock from the sun as you might hear it reverberating in a nighttime city alley. – Brendan Kiley, the Stranger Seattle

Tickets available for Lo-Fi Arts Festival

We at Schwa encourage each and every one of you to attend this years Lo-Fi Arts Festival as we expect it to be a magnificent display of NW artists creating beautiful site specific pieces to be enjoyed in a remarkable location. We will debut a new piece entitled, Planes of Discord, that will be an introspection examining the dichotomy existing between time in society and the chaos in the surrounding natural elements. Please visit this following link for info on how to get your pass and we will see you there! click here for tix

Review by Dave Segal of the Stranger

Local quintet the Schwa feature a member (Robb Davidson) who is credited with “science.” They’re that kind of band: cerebral, exploratory, adventurous jazzers who are as much about texture and mood as they are about chord progressions, rhythm, and melody. In this way, the Schwa can be viewed as Seattle’s answer to Norway’s Supersilent—a disciplined yet loose-limbed ensemble who use understatement to both creep you out and expand your mind. Bring your longest attention span and focus, people. The Schwa—who include vibraphonist Justin Sorensen, clarinetist/saxophonist Chris Credit, percussionist Bob Rees, and double bassist Geoff Larson—will plunge you into the headiest of depths. DAVE SEGAL

the Schwa selected for Lo Fi Arts Festival 2012

On August 25 we will take to the country roads and head for Arlington, Wa and the Lo Fi arts festival located on beautiful Smoke Farm. I had the opportunity recently to tour the 360 acre farm featuring everything from ancient cedar groves, to twisting rivers, to rock quarry’s and flat plains. Truly a magical spot to have a festival and we are thrilled to bring our sound to such a unique landscape. As I write I am concocting a framework for us to improvise within and have no doubt the piece will blend seamlessly with the environment. If you are unaware of this festival I will include a link (here) for you to check it out but the gist is artist mostly working in the visual arm off the octopus construct pieces and then integrate them into the surroundings. A different location for each artist is chosen all around the farm so folks attending are given a map and set off into the wilderness to check out whatever happens to be occurring. Tickets for the event are $40 which includes camping if you choose to stay the night. The festival runs from Aug 25-26.

Residency Ends on a High Note / Lucid upcoming May 31

Last night marked the end of our two month residency at Mona’s. Time spent there was quite good for growth of the Schwa and we are thankful for this opportunity. It has been a time filled with refining and deepening our understanding of the music we are presenting.

Alas we move on and this break allows us the time needed to begin working on a whole new slough of compositions that I have been crafting in my fortress the past few months. Before we ascend into the depths of the musical netherworld for a month we would like for you to join us on May 31 at Lucid Jazz Lounge. We have always had terrific shows at this venue and expect this evening to follow suit. Show begins at 9pm, no cover, and wicked space beats will confound your inner cranium. Facebook Event Listing

Mona’s Residency to begin April 3

We are so pleased to be taking up a Tuesday night residency at Mona’s Lounge in Seattle’s Greenlake neighborhood beginning Tuesday April 3. The music will run from 9-12 as we will now get a chance to dig in and stretch out the new music we have been crafting over the past couple months. We will also take this opportunity to spread the Schwa wings and invite many of our friends down to sit in on some tunes. I have been attending shows at this club since way back in the college days watching cats like Hadley Caliman and Julian Priester burn the stage. I am horned to now get the chance to bring some new fire to room. Once again we are not charging any cover to attend and Monas has set up terrific specials on food and drinks to make it most appealing for all.

12 Sycamore Chess Night

Last night the Schwa took part in the first ever 12 Sycamores Chess Society. We were asked by Lars Bergquist (founder) to improvise two sets of music representing what we felt about the White lodge and the Black Lodge respectively from the tv series Twin Peaks. It was beautiful, heavy, sad, scary, and bursting with anticipatory energy. A terrific release for an exceptional night. The room was packed with folks playing chess, hanging out and in general just coming together for a unique event. Thanks to everyone for sharing the night with us. Here are a couple pictures I shot.

Sonarchy Radio

Wanted to keep you all in the know so you can tune your radio dials (90.3 in Seattle) / internet urls’s to KEXP on Sunday March 4 midnight to 1am for the Schwa’s Sonarchy Radio live performance. This session was filled with ecstatic energy and the hour long piece is something we all were EXTREMELY proud of. So please check it out live or vist to download the podcast for two weeks after it airs.

Egans Feb 10 Seattle

A special show coming up for the Seattle residents. We have decided to unleash the Schwa on Ballard this coming Feb 10 at Egans Jam House. I am very excited to play this room as it will bring the correct energy for us to convey our message to the perfect number of ears. Expect us to unfurl a myriad of new sounds on your unsuspecting continuousness.

In other news we will be releasing two improvised pieces that were recorded back in November at Jack Straw studios. This particular session holds a wonderful energy as they were one takes on a clock. You can feel the intensity throughout and our decision to release was obvious once a few key decisions were made. Number one was that our good friend Robb Davidson needed to be involved and mix this record. We are very thankful to him and Nels Nelson Studios for being so kind in helping us make this a reality. I would love nothing more to drop this on vinyl so if anyone out there in the ethos has leeds or feels inclined to help us out with this endeavor we would be forever grateful.

Be well my friends and see you on Feb 10 at Egans!

Mars Bar Ambient Set Video

Thank you to all who made it out to Mars bar last Thursday for the Schwa + Science set. We had a fantastic time and were lucky enough to have it captured on video by our friend Joel. For this performance I constructed a framework around the idea of bird migration. The piece moved through four sections (awakening – community – migration – reflection). Now we hibernate till the new year. See you in 2012.

Bushwick Book Club performance

Thanks to everyone that made it out last Friday for the Bushwick Book Club’s terrific showcase of musicians presenting music inspired by Mary Doria Russels, The Sparrow. I applaud Geoff Larson for olive branching out and having Bob Rees and myself improvise a piece of music. For the most part this club is reserved for a fantastic singer songwriters but the idea of occasionally infusing something a bit more bizarre is engaging and created a wonderful energy and atmosphere in the room. If you would like check out what exactly Bob and I did please have a listen by clicking the link below.

The Sparrow by theschwa

Upcoming NW Tour

Rapidly upon us is our northwest run of shows taking us down through Oregon. Last night’s rehearsal was filled with excitement as we anticipate sharing the material we have been diligently crafting this past year. Its a direction in jazz that will hopefully surprise and enlighten you.

Today also included an interview with 89.3 Kaos Radio in Olympia. Fred Kellogg (Free Jazz with Fred) has taken the time to ask me a few questions and these answers will then be broadcast on his show next Thursday night (11/10) between the hours of 9 and 11. Please tune in if you are in the Olympia area.

We also just added November 8 for the Triple Door Main stage here in Seattle. We will be opening up the night for JC Brooks and The Uptown Sound. I simply can’t wait to get the group on this beautiful stage to see what kind of inspiration we find. Hope to see all you locals in attendance.

Cosmonaut Cowboy available Now!!!!

We have released our first EP and would love nothing more than to share it with you.  Included on the disc is four original tracks highlighting a nice spectrum of movement heard in the band.  Available to stream from your computer by clicking the widget in the right hand column, we would like you to take some time and enjoy the music.  If you enjoy as much as we do then please consider downloading it from either iTunes or Bandcamp for a small fee.  If you would prefer to own a physical copy of the disc we have produced a limited run that will be available at shows only.