Steve Swallow

Steve Swallow has long been many jazz critics' favorite electric bassist, for rather than playing his instrument in a rock-oriented manner, Swallow emphasizes the high notes and approaches the electric bass, to an extent, as if it were a guitar. He originally started on piano and trumpet before settling on the acoustic bass as a teenager. Swallow joined the Paul Bley trio in 1960 and with Bley was a part of an avant-garde version of the Jimmy Giuffre 3 during 1960-1962. Swallow recorded with George Russell and was a member of Art Farmer's quartet (1962-1965), Stan Getz's band (1965-1967), and an important edition of Gary Burton's quartet (1967-1970). The latter group (starting with the addition of guitarist Larry Coryell) was actually one of the first fusion groups, and it was during that time that Swallow began playing electric bass; within a few years he stopped playing acoustic altogether. Swallow spent a few years in the early '70s living in northern California during which time he mostly playing locally. After the late '70s he has been closely associated with Carla Bley's groups, although he occasionally works on other projects (including a reunion of the Jimmy Giuffre 3). Swallow has also proved to be a talented composer with "Eiderdown," "Falling Grace," "General Mojo's Well Laid Plan," and "Hotel Hello" being among his better-known pieces. The 21st century saw the release of several Swallow sets, including Damaged in Transit (2003), Histoire Du Clochard: The Bum's Tale (2004), and an intriguing set with poet Robert Creeley, So There (2006).
Scott Yanow, Rovi