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Steve Swallow


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I just got done thumbing through the latest issue of jazz times (picked it up because it had wayne shorter on the cover). The whole thing was basically a bunch of 'best ..... of the year' lists, some by editors, some by readers, etc. I was very satisfied to see how well dave holland's what goes around did (pretty much everyone made it the runner-up next to footprints live). But when I got to the 'best electric bassist' section, I freak. My long-time fixations, marcus and wooten, are 3rd and 4th (christian mcbride's 2nd), while first is held by Steve Swallow. Now mind you, I'm not wigging out because the guys I'm familiar with didn't get it; I'm just astonished that I had never heard the name before! With a library of cds, how is that possible?!!!


End rant. What I was hoping you guys could do for me to help remedy this situation is suggest a few albums he's been on that stood out to you so I can get a feel for what he's all about (I ran a search and he's simply got too much stuff out there for me to just randomly pick something and expect that to represent all aspects of his playing).


Help edumacate this poor child!

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He can be an acquired taste because he focuses on the bass' upper register. I'm only familiar with Swallow from his work a long time ago with Gary Burton (like "Hotel Hello", one of those airy ECM '70s records) and early John Scofield (like "Shinola"). I never embraced Carla Bley's music, with whom he is closely associated. His tune "Falling Grace" has become sort of a modern jazz standard. IIRC, his album "The Real Book" was good, and the more recent "Deconstructed" got great reviews.
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Steve Swallow has been around a real long time. I own a lot of his cds and I don't find that he solos mostly in the high range. He does that on a couple of albums but most of the time his solos include plenty of middle and lower range. That's one of the thing's I like best about him is that he uses all of the electric bass when soloing. I do agree that he is an acquired taste because he plays with a pick but his sound is very burnished.


Favorite Swallow cds: Gary Burton: Times Square, Picture This

Steve Swallow and Carla Bley: Go Together, Duets.

John Scofield: Shinola

Steve Swallow as Leader: Deconstructed, Real Book, Home

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