Getting to talk to master bassist & composer Steve Swallow was a big deal for me. I’m so thankful to the great Mike Gibbs for kindly putting us in touch. When Steve got back to me, he told me he had checked out some of my interviews and that he’d be happy to participate. Naturally, I got super excited, went back and listened to all my favorite recordings of him again: his own records, but also his works with John Scofield, Jimmy Guiffre, Paul Bley, Thelonious Monk, Carla Bley, Paul Motian, Chick Corea, Pete LaRoca, Art Farmer, Stan Getz, or Joao Gilberto. I also found some amazing records along the way that I hadn’t heard before, for example this one. Also, when I told John Scofield that I would interview Steve Swallow, he told me to check out Steve’s incredible bass feature on “I want you” from Gary Burton’s “In Concert” record.
Steve was really generous with his time as our conversations took more than two hours. We talked about so many things and I’m still processing the inspiration I got from our talk, but I think it struck me the most to see how much Steve is still working on improving his connection to the instrument, how willing he is to keep learning and make progress. Considering how much he has already done for this music this sets a high bar for all of us, to never become too comfortable with the status quo.