PNY Quintet: Over The Wall

Rating: ★★★

Record and Artist Details


Steve Swell
Rob Brown (as)
Peter Giron (b)
John Betsch (d)
Michel Edelin (f)




Media Format:


Catalogue Number:



Rec. 2022

French label Rogueart has long been an important home for American and European improvisers who occasionally join forces to make a fine transatlantic avant-garde.

That is the case with PNY quintet (presumably an acronym for Paris New York), which comprises one Frenchman, flautist Michel Edelin and four Americans, trombonist Steve Swell, alto saxophonist Rob Brown, bassist Peter Giron and drummer John Betsch, the last two having spent many years living in ‘la ville lumiere.’ One could place the music in a long lineage reaching back to the halcyon days of the early 1970s when AACM crossed the water and French musicians like Beb Guérin and Claude Decloo played with the U.S expats.

Anyway, PNY is piano-less, like many of the above bands, and its dry, flinty heavy sound makes a sizeable impact when the whole ensemble is in action, though it also holds the interest when it breaks down into smaller units, where the vivid timbral contrasts between the brass and woodwinds are ear-catching. PNY plots an entirely personal course through myriad traditions to make the past an unbroken link to the present, as exemplified by the wonderful ‘New Orleans’, which squeezes the city’s trademark second line groove into a kind of one and a half skank, where the beat is broken into a humourous hide ‘n’ seek. Steeped in history, yet anything but anachronistic, PNY is a noteworthy advert for the multi-nationality group that creates a compelling language sans paroles.

Follow us

Jazzwise Print

  • Latest print issues

From £5.83 / month


Jazzwise Digital Club

  • Latest digital issues
  • Digital archive since 1997
  • Download tracks from bonus compilation albums during the year
  • Reviews Database access

From £7.42 / month


Subscribe from only £5.83

Never miss an issue of the UK's biggest selling jazz magazine.


View the Current

Take a peek inside the latest issue of Jazzwise magazine.

Find out more