Shawn Maxwell - alto saxophone; Matt Nelson - piano; Kevin Martinez - double bass; Brandon Dickert - drums. Recorded 9/20 and 9/27/2009. Produced and engineered by Nick Eipers. REVIEWS: One of JazzChicago.net's Top Chicago Recordings of 2010 "'Maxwell's House' is a hard-swinging, deep in the pocket release... Maxwell and pianist Matt Nelson favor shorter lines, longer-held notes and a strong focus on tone to draw in their audience... [Matt Nelson] is never less than stellar throughout. His solo on the opening track is one of the album's highlights; weaving his way through bop, West-Coast cool and New York modern, Nelson's effective use of space and his instrument's range brings to mind the work of some of the piano's finest performers, including Bill Evans, Lennie Tristano and Wynton Kelly... Maxwell's tone and sense of time are captivating... Strong compositions, a deep sense of time feel and an emphasis on melody all come together to produce an album that would be expected from musicians twice their age..." - Matthew Warnock, AllAboutJazz.com "Maxwell's tunes range from clearly instrumental compositions such as the title track, with it's playful skips and jumps, to the smooth and lovely waltz 'Ava', for which lyrics would not be out of place. As a player, Maxwell's strength is his tone, a keening sound similar to those of Jackie McLean and Kenny Garrett. It can be aggressively muscular or warmly expressive, depending on the context... pianist Matt Nelson has to be singled out for his extraordinary skills as an improviser. His imaginitive, unpredictable improvisations make listening to him a genuine pleasure." - David Franklin, Cadence Magazine "Maxwell's growth as a player is breathtaking - his Kenny Garrett-inspired tone and long lines a fresh change from the usual alto player's approach to burn at all times and leave no space... Nelson, of course, is becoming one of Chicago's most in-demand pianists and it is clear why here again as he proves the perfect foil for Maxwell. The compositions are grounded in the traditional, yet spiked with plenty of surprising shifts and interesting elements and evidence of Maxwell's confidence and maturity... By following his own way, Maxwell has created another album of importance based on his originality and sense of purpose." - Brad Walseth, JazzChicago.net "...the saxophonist's tart, biting tone is reminiscent of Jackie McLean... The disc opens with the highly-caffeinated title tune. Maxwell spits sharp notes into the stop-and-go rhythm that gives way to fluid and intensely-pretty piano turn by Matt Nelson. The leader then gets a bit 'out there' with some jagged lines... 'Different Colors of Cool' conjures Art Pepper's sound and intensity, and the set's closer 'Dangerous Curve' bores ahead with a relentless momentum, a hard-driving wrap-up to another very engaging workout by Shawn Maxwell." - Dan McClenaghan, AllAboutJazz.com "... edgy, forward-looking, hard bop with a good measure of modal improvisations mixed in... [pianist Matt Nelson's] presence at this session is a real revelation. He takes uniquely constructed lengthy improvisations on all of the pieces and elevated the overall work to a higher artistic level... an extremely rewarding modern take on the edgy, modal hard bop of the 1960s with something extra for the 21st century." - Hrayr Attarian, Chicago Jazz Magazine "The tricky interplay between horn, piano and drums on the snappy 'Shuffled' will wake you up like an iced expresso, while Nelson's work on 'Sector 7-G' foams like a cappuccino. Maxwell's House brims with delight - good till the last drop." - George W. Harris, JazzWeekly.com "'Maxwell's House', his Chicago Sessions debut, shows off a sprightly but strong-willed style, which grows from his puckered, slightly acerbic, and often kaleidoscopic tone. His alto timbre sits in a lineage exemplified by past giants like Jackie McLean and Eric Dolphy, and by such latter-day players as Arthur Blythe and Steve Slagle. Maxwell gets to all of them through his emulation of Kenny Garrett (one of the most admired contemporary altoists), who folds many of those influences into his own music... Maxwell bases much of his approach to improvisation around his sound: although he can run bebop lines along with the rest, his solos tend to involve fewer, longer-held notes, the better to emphasize the three-dimensional facets of his tone. His songs serve a similar purpose, living in a mid-tempo range that let's his sound breathe deeply. Whether composed or improvised, Maxwell's melodies have a keening urgency that starts with that sound, which imparts a steamroller intensity belied by his easygoing manner... Throughout the disc, 'Maxwell's House' displays a vibrant and steadily maturing quartet. The youthful Nelson emerges here (and on the standout Chicago Sessions disc by guitarist Aaron Koppel) as one of Chicago's most promising jazzmen, and one of the freshest pianists on the national scene. Nelson deserves his own disc soon; like his twenty-something contemporary Gerald Clayton, he already knows how to leave things out of his solos to highlight the ideas he chooses to retain - a lesson most musicians don't learn until much later in life..." - Neil Tesser (from the liner notes) BIO: Shawn Maxwell of Aurora, Illinois is an accomplished woodwinds multi-instrumentalist (saxophones, clarinet and flute) professional jazz performer. He is also a teacher, composer, arranger and clinician. Leader of the Shawn Maxwell Quartet, he provides excellence in jazz entertainment in Chicagoland and beyond. Shawn attended Milikin University in Decatur, Illinois and received a Bachelors Degree in Commercial Music in 1999. Since 1999 he has been in high demand. He began his career as an entertainer on a Caribbean cruise line. Since that time he has toured in Sweden, London, Portugal, and Greece. Additionally, he has played with numerous jazz combos at venues throughout greater Chicagoland. Known for his high-level and high-energy playing, Shawn Maxwell has a loyal fan base and regularly draws an appreciative crowd at his engaging performances. His current group, The Shawn Maxwell Quartet, was formed in 2004. In late 2004 Shawn took the band into the studio to record what would be his debut CD, "Originals." "Originals," features his compositional, arranging and production skills. In the Fall of 2006 The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences placed Shawn Maxwell on the Nominating Ballot for the 2007 Grammy Awards in the following categories: Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Best New Artist, Best Jazz Instrumental Solo, Best Jazz Instrumental Album.? In 2006 Shawn signed with the prestigious and legendary Conn-Selmer Company to join their Performance and Educational Artist Roster. In 2008 Shawn released his second album, "Originals II," on his newly formed label, "Dangerous Curve Productions." "Originals II" features another twelve works that feature his writing, arranging and production skills. In 2009 Shawn recorded his first CD, 'Maxwell's House,' for the Chicago Sessions Jazz Label. 'Maxwell's House' features another ten original compositions. Shawn currently performs with his own group, The Shawn Maxwell Quartet, as well as several other groups. In addition to his busy performance schedule Shawn maintains a private lesson studio of 50 students in IL and continues to work as a clinician with young performers throughout the Chicago area.