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Steve Swell - trombone, flute
Mark Tokar - double bass
Klaus Kugel - drums

upcoming trio concert in 2024:
27th of September, Wangelin, Garten Café
upcoming quartet tour April 2025
Joe McPhee - saxophone

April-11, Saarbrücken (Germany)
Festival FreeJazzSaar 2025
more dates soon!

+49 173 25 450 25
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For The People Of The Open Heart
SWELL/TOKAR/KUGEL improvises their performances. Today, with all types of gadgets stealing our attention and ourselves, SWELL/TOKAR/KUGEL will reconnect you and give you something your smart gizmo can’t. Their performances are stories of the imagination with a beginning, a middle and, occasionally, an end. Their stories are movies, poems and images of their life’s experiences, of their everyday humaneness of our collective desire to turn the lights on.

SWELL/TOKAR/KUGEL crushes the notion of what a bass, drum and trombone trio should sound like. Their instruments are extensions of themselves, expressing a singular originality unleashing unrestricted explorations which is the prime directive of the music to which they are dedicated.

Listen and allow the sounds and articulations of their abstractions greet your ears in a fresh and unbiased manner. This is the way to enjoy improvised music. This is the way to enjoy SWELL/TOKAR/KUGEL. They know improvisation is joy.
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Review from Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery, NYC

The trio blasts open on “Let It Grow”, powerful, tight and explosive. The trio seem to have a natural bond and work together extremely well. Steve Swell often blows so hard, it seems as if his head will explode. The rhythm are able to match his fire and ever-inventive playing no matter where he goes. At times, things slow down as the trio stretches out, dealing with suspense and weaving their notes/ sounds carefully together. Mr. Kugel takes a fine mallets-on-drums solo when “Clarion Encounter” begins. When Mr. Swell comes in he takes an extraordinary solo with just the drums at first, the energy going from simmering to sizzling as the bass enters and the trio erupts once more. Mr. Swell has been experimenting with his playing moreso in recent times, tapping on his trombone, rubbing it with a mute or other objects. He does some of this on “Tone Detective” as the rest of the trio slow bent their notes/sounds around or with his playing. The one piece that Mr. Swell composed himself is called “Child’s Play” and it starts off spaciously and builds to an intense conclusion. The trio keep pushing each other higher on each piece, all three integral to the tight, focused and free sound. This session is profound, throttling at times and powerful yet with sections of calm, space organically placed or paced. Too much is just enough.

Steve Swell:
Klaus Kugel: