alswainger.comcomposer bassist educator

Biography

Born in 1972, Al began playing the cornet and piano at the age of 6; he also tried the trumpet & tenor horn before finally settling on the french horn at 11. His teen years were spent in a wide variety of ensembles and stylistic settings – classical, jazz, pop and rock – often 4 or 5 days a week throughout his schooling. Mainly performing on french horn at this time but also on piano and self taught electric guitar and bass. He also developed an enthusiasm for computer music, composing & arranging extensively using sequencing software and home recording equipment.

Al earned his degree in music from Colchester institute in 1993 and a teaching certificate the following year from Bretton Hall. Whilst studying for his degree he held the piano chair in the university big band as well as continuing to play orchestral french horn.

After completing formal studies Al became a part time instrumental teacher for Devon Youth Music. At the same time he started to build a reputation as an electric bass player, musical director & arranger amongst the local soul & big bands. With the collapse of the teaching arm of the music service in 2004 Al took the opportunity to become a full time self-employed musician and to expand his skills into playing double bass as well.

Since then Al has jointly run an open jazz jam session for 3 years, independently run an improvisation / composition workshop called The Other Compass & formed his own bands (Monkey’s Uncle, Time Wasters, Power of Time Monkeys, Mother Popcorn & the Art Trip). He has also earned a formidable reputation as a sideman – most notably with the Craig Milverton Trio, Annika Skoogh Quartet & Digby Fairweather’s Half Dozen.

He continues to break new ground as a freelance artist and has released albums with the Art Trip (Music of Art Pepper), art rockers Grice (Alexandrine), omni-fusion trio Snow Giants (UN) and his own solo project Pointless Beauty (A Lonely Vigil).

In July 2016 Al moved to Bristol. Upcoming projects on the horizon include albums with the Annika Skoogh Quartet, Gary Bamford Trio, Mahatmosphere and Pointless Beauty.

The new Pointless Beauty album (After & Before) featuring Neil Yates, Mike Outram, George Cooper & Mark Whitlam will be released in the summer of 2017.

For press biogs go here

discography

As Bandleader

Snow Giants – UN (2015)
Pointless Beauty – Vol. 1 (A Lonely Vigil) (2014)
The Art Trip – The Music of Art Pepper (2012)
Time Wasters – Welcome to Wasteland (2007)
Monkey’s Uncle – Lost In Limbo (2005)

As Sideman

Grice – Alexandrine (2015)
Fowler / Ashworh / Milverton – On A Misty Night (2015)
Craig Milverton Trio – Bopularity (2013)
Louise Parker – Live at the Flavel (2012)
Roger Marks & His Mainstreamers – Autumn Leaves (2011)
Roger Marks & His Mainstreamers – Easy Living (2011)
The Session 8 Band – Mood Swings (2010)
Becky Brine – Almost (2009)
Toby Williams – The EP (2009)
The Session 8 Band – Girl In Blue (2009)
Exe City Big Band – Leave Us Leap (2007)
The Jesse Molins Trio – EP (2007)
Toby Williams – Just Want To Say (2005)
Jerri Hart – The Nightless Night (2005)
Aesculus Hipp – Master of Illusion (2000)

bandography

Current

Snow Giants (2014 – Present)
Pointless Beauty (2014 – Present)
Ben Cumming’s Tribute to Gerry Mulligan (2014 – Present)
Grice (2012 – Present)
Annika Skoogh Quartet (2011 – Present)
Ed Leaker’s Swing Machine (2010 – Present)
Kick Ass Brass (2010 – Present)
Digby Fairweather’s Half Dozen (2010 – Present)
James Harris’ Beatbelt (2008 – Present)

Past

The Threadbearz (2012 – 2015)
The Art Trip (2011 – 2014)
Brian Moore’s Wind Machine (2010 – 2013)
The Artemis Allstars (2010)
Mother Popcorn (2009 – 2011)
Tony Harris Quartet (2008 – 2012)
Roger Marks’ Honiton Armada (2007 – 2016)
Swing 3 (2007 – 2012)
Cantaloupe (2007 – 2008)
Louise Parker Trio/Quartet (2006 – 2014)
Killer Whale (2006 – 2008)
Power of Time Monkeys (2005 – 2008)
Harry Mundy Band (2004 – 2005)
Craig Milverton Trio (2005 – 2015)
Monkey’s Uncle (2004 – 2009)
Time Wasters (2003 – 2008)
Soul Station (2001 – 2008)
Sam Elliott Big Band (2000 – 2007)
Aesculus Hipp (1999 – 2001)
Rifiki (1998 – 2002)
Dodgey Practice (1995 – 2001)