Video: Ricky Sweum's Jazz Explosion @ Cucuru on Rapture's Eve



"I thank you for joining us on this last day," said saxophonist Ricky Sweum with a grin on Friday evening, referring to the media frenzy surrounding an obscure cult's prediction that Saturday would bring on the Rapture. "Is there something wrong with me for not finding out about this until today?"

With that, Sweum's trio ushered in the first of two remarkable sets which, like the artist's Pulling Your Own Strings debut album, consisted entirely of original compositions. From the opening "Piebald City" to the closing "Sunset Iraq" three hours later, the group proved that there's no need to cover standards when you can set your own.

Assuming we're all not raptured before then, the band will return to the Cucuru Gallery & Cafe on Saturday night for what will, unfortunately, be its final performance.

After three years together, Sweum and and his monster rhythm section, each of them members of the Air Force Academy's Falconaires, will be going their separate ways in the coming weeks: Sweum will join an Air Force band in Anchorage, bassist Jason Crowe will do the same in Japan, and drummer Henrique De Almeida will enter civilian life as an instructor at the prestigious Berklee College of Music.

For Saturday's gig, the trio will be joined by guitarist Wayne Wilkinson, who also plays on Sweum's debut album. First set begins at 7 p.m., and you'd be crazy to miss it. Of course, if the rapture does come before then, Friday night's gig will have been a great one to go out on.

To whet your appetite, check out this video from Friday's opening set — and be sure not to miss Sweum channeling the spirit of Ornette Coleman during his solo beginning at 4:20.

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