Berklee Today: Jazz Bassist/Composer Steve Swallow

By
Mark Small
March 14, 2012
Jazz bassist/composer Steve Swallow
Photo by Phil Farnsworth

In jazz circles, former Berklee faculty member Steve Swallow is best known for his lyrical electric bass playing and prolific jazz composing. During the 1970s, about a dozen of his tunes appeared in the original Real Book bearing cryptic titles such as "Como en Vietnam," "Hullo Bolinas," "Falling Grace," "Domino Biscuit," "Doin' the Pig," and "Hotel Hello." After Gary Burton began performing "Falling Grace," it became one of Swallow's best-known pieces and has since been performed extensively and recorded by numerous jazz musicians. Swallow has worked with such artists as Art Farmer, Jim Hall, Jimmy Giuffre, Paul Bley, Pat Metheny, Joe Lovano, and many more.

He has taken the unusual step of making the lead sheets of many of his 250 tunes available for free at his website: wattxtrawatt.com/leadsheetsswallow.htm. Swallow took a few minutes in December to speak by phone from his home in the British Virgin Islands and shared thoughts about his career and "Falling Grace," his best known piece.

Read more about Steve Swallow in Berklee Today.