Clif Swiggett grew up in New York and started playing jazz trombone as a teenager, including touring with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, playing with the Clem DeRosa All-Star Big Band, and playing lead bone in the McDonald’s Tri-State Jazz Ensemble for three years which included backing up Dizzy Gillespie for shows in New York, playing the Newport and Kool Jazz Festivals, and performing live on the Merv Griffin Show.
At Princeton Clif was the Student Director of the Princeton University Jazz Ensemble for four years. Since moving to Seattle in 1985, he’s played with many different bands including The Room To Move Sextet (hard bop including Jazz Messengers material), Cambalache and Carribbean Roots (Salsa and Afro-Cuban), The Brian Waite Band (raggae, funk, jazz, rock), and many of Seattle’s great big bands. He also plays bass in jazz, rock, and salsa groups. He currently plays trombone with Roadside Attraction and The Smith-Staelens Big Band, and performs weekly in a duo with wife Nelda Swiggett on piano.
Clif says, “The first jazz LP I had was Art Blakey’s “A Night at Birdland, Volume 2″ with Clifford Brown, Lou Donaldson, Horace Silver, and Curly Russell (alas, no trombone!). Amazing music. Pretty incredible that Blakey’s groups spanned five decades, included (inspired, taught) many of the best players on the planet, recorded over 100 albums, and played this amazingly wide range of styles all rooted in distinctive Blakey hard driving, horn-line powered, bop. His bands were world famous. It’s exciting, intense, meaningful music to study and play – there’s so much to learn and experience especially for intermediate to advanced players.” Clif has studied and performed Jazz Messengers music with the Benny Green combo at Centrum.