Nice press for Carswell

Here’s a nice, brief writeup about the new CD, Carswell, from Jeff Berkwits over at the Illinois Entertainer.

“Imagine hanging out late one night at a smoke-stained jazz club like the Green Mill, listening to proficient players enjoying a fun jam session. That’s the intoxicating effect of Carswell, the latest 10-tune recording from sax-man Tom Gullion. While standout numbers include the energetically improvisational “Monkey’s Tale” and the evocative electric piano and flute of “Right On Time,” every cut is consistently captivating.”

Thanks Jeff for the great review. I know how difficult it is to condense thoughts into such a tight space but I think he did an excellent job.

I was also contacted by BRAVA magazine in Madison (a magazine for “women of style and substance”) that they’re recommending Carswell in their August issue. All right! All you “women of style and substance” need Carswell on your iPod. 🙂

Apr 23 and 24 at Magnus (Madison, WI) gig retrospective

Last weekend was incredible! We had a great time performing at Magnus in Madison. The crowd was really great, the staff at Magnus were really kind to us. All good. All very good. 🙂

I am so fortunate to be able to make music with these incredible musicians: Tim Whalen (piano), Mark Urness (bass) and Dane Richeson (drums). But you don’t have to just take my word for it, give these tracks a listen.

Excerpts from Apr 23, 2010:

Augn San Suu Kyi (Wayne Shorter, arr. Dave Douglas)

I Didn’t Know What Time It Was (Rodgers/Hart, arr. Tom Gullion)

Excerpts from Apr 24, 2010

Carswell (Tom Gullion)

A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing (Billy Strayhorn, arr Tom Gullion)

Overflowing (Tom Gullion)

Ting Jing (Tom Gullion)

OW Oshkosh residency

I had a great time working with students at the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh in December, 2009. Special thanks to professor Marty Robinson for the great hospitality and for building such a great jazz program. It was delightful to play with the band, chat with the music business class, teach a few lessons and hang with the cats after the concert! The only downside was the blizzard raging outside limited the audience. Those that did attend certainly earned their stripes!

concert photo

Hyde Park Jazz Festival 2009 MP3s

I had the great pleasure of performing with Ernie Adams at the Hyde Park Jazz Festival 2009, 3rd annual. It’s a really great festival worth attending. Great location, great music, really well organized.

Here are a few MP3s of our set. Musicians are Tom Gullion (saxophone), Tim Whalen (piano), Larry Gray (bass), Ernie Adams (drums) and Juan Picorelli (percussion).

Carswell (Tom Gullion)

For Chick (Tim Whalen)

One Look (Larry Gray)

Asiatic Raes (Kenny Dorham)

Carswell video at

Hyde Park Jazz Festival – Sat, Feb 26th, 3:30pm

This Saturday, Sep 26th, is the Hyde Park Jazz Festival. I’ll be performing with drummer Ernie Adams, pianist Tim Whalen and bassist Larry Gray at Experimental Station at 3:30pm. Please join us.

Experimental Station is here (map).

The rest of the festival is worth checking out. A great collection of Chicago musicians and it’s free. 🙂

More details are available at

While you’re there, be sure to tweet using #jazzlives and announce your support for live music!


My evolving approach to improvisation and composition has been a process of “unschooling.” I don’t know what else to call it. Here I’ll try to explain…

I spent so much of my time studying harmony and worked diligently to understand it from multiple perspectives. Indeed, there remains a lot more to study. No one could possibly finish that task.

However, the music that speaks to me deeply is not harmonically complex. It is more earthy, more soulful, more spontaneous than we usually associate with complex music.

I also noticed that when confronted with complex chords in music musicians tend to bury their noses in the printed music and play less emotionally.

Then comes trumpeter Woody Shaw with the answer.

His music almost always sounds organic and soulful. Yet his tunes have harmonic complexity and an incredibly natural emotional curve. I really admire his work.

Crafting tunes that have all these attributes has been my goal of late. My latest recording, Carswell, comes close but there’s a lot more work to do. Meanwhile, you’ll find me working on unschooling my craft and getting to it.

Carswell is ready. Soon to be released!

My new disc, Carswell, is back from manufacturing! All the behind-the-scenes stuff of releasing a record is happening fast and furious. In those few idle minutes, I plan to make updates of progress and release some supplemental material: photos, background info and even a PDF of the music.

The music on this album is a huge step forward for me. I really worked hard on the compositions, taking musical ideas from my past experiences and sculpting them into something new. Those compositions were modified after a few live performances to further fine-tune the emotional landscape of the piece.

Here’s a teaser jpg of the disc cover: