Steve Swallow is more than just an innovator on electric bass: he's a composer who has written many contemporary jazz classics including Arise, Her Eyes," Hullo Bolinas" and Falling Grace." He's enjoyed long musical associations with vibraphonist Gary Burton and pianist/composer/arranger Carla Bley, as well as more occasional projects with John Taylor, John Scofield and Paul Motian.
But his artistic associations go beyond the musical.
For 30 years Swallow was friends with poet Robert Creeley, who passed away in 2005. Swallow first read Creeley's work in the 1950s, and instantly fell in love with what Creeley had to say and the way he said it. Twenty years later, a chance meeting with Creeley led to a personal and professional relationship. Creeley's work inspired two of Swallow's albums - Home (ECM, 1980), and his most recent recording, So There (XtraWATT/ECM, 2006).
AAJ contributor Jason Crane caught up with Swallow to discuss his relationship with Creeley, and the making of So There. The result is an in-depth look at a detailed, multi-year project, where Swallow adapted Creeley's spoken word to composed and improvised music performed by an unorthodox ensemble of piano, bass and string quartet.
Check out Steve Swallow: The Poetry of Music at AAJ today!