John Swana: Abohm (2012) by Joe North

“After that night, music has been different for me.”

This post was contributed by jazz expert, multi-instrumentalist and interplanetary explorer, Mr. Joe North. You can check it some of Joe’s work on his personal website here.

I gained for an appreciation for jazz in the 9th grade after doing a report on Miles Davis. Flash forward almost 10 years later, I was in Philly working to earn my Masters in Jazz Studies. Picking up everything I had and moving to a new city was a daunting task for me but I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything in the world. I became great friends with a group of guys who exposed me to the amazing music of our teacher, John Swana. This album is named “Abohm” and is not your typical straight ahead jazz. This is jazz-influenced electronica (is that even a real thing?). These are not “tunes.”

These are works of art.

If you are not familiar with John Swana, check out some of his albums on Spotify. He is a phenomenal trumpet player as well as valve trombone and EVI (Electronic Valve Instrument). I suggest starting out with Presenting Chris Potter by Chris Potter which Swana plays sideman on (Yeah, THE Chris Potter). He also appears on many other albums as a sideman and a frontman with various Philly premiere jazz artists.

“Abohm” came to me at the perfect time. My new group of friends invited me over to their place and we were just hanging out listening to music and one said “Have you listened to Swana’s electronic album?” I said, “No, is it any good?” It must have been 1:30 in the morning at the time and they all told me to sit on the couch with them and listen to this from beginning to end. After that night, music has been different for me. At the moment, my itunes play count must have over 200 plays on some tracks on this album.

For me, “Abohm” changed everything. I listened to it for months straight trying to absorb all the ideas Swana was throwing at me. Taking a lesson or two with him as well as an jazz improv class just made me more hungry for this album and his other work. I even learned the EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument) and started composing my own music because of this album. This album has made me the musician I am today. Thanks for the inspiration, John Swana.

Suited for: Comfortable couches, long car rides, intergalactic travel

Appropriate Playback Device: Over ear headphones while staring at your favorite screen saver.

If you’re interested in contributing an album experience to the DailyLP, please contact me at


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