JazzTimes

Swallow in Flight

John Scofield’s latest album Swallow Tales, his first as a sole leader for ECM, features nine compositions by his longtime mentor and friend Steve Swallow—who also plays bass on the album. The two have a connection that goes back decades, forged through countless live performances. Owing to its stripped-down trio instrumentation with little or no overdubs (drummer Bill Stewart completes the lineup), the album has a timeless quality, almost as if it could have been recorded in the ’70s, when so many of its songs were written. But that would discount the effect of their years of shared music-making.

The story of Scofield’s affinity for Swallow and his songbook starts with Gary Burton. The guitarist was attending Berklee in 1971, when Burton came to teach there. Sharing an apartment with a drummer and bass player, Scofield

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