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This is an intelligent, inventively performed, be-boppish tribute to a composer I now know better than ever / the arts fuse

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On the 1967 RCA Victor album Lofty Fake Anagram, vibraphonist Gary Burton recorded "Good Citizen Swallow," "in honor of his bassist Steve Swallow." Most bassists could be described in similar terms: they have chosen an instrument that, in jazz, is usually supportive and sits in the background. Bassists routinely tell jokes about people chatting throughout their instrument's solo. In contrast, for almost 60 years, Swallow has been far more than a figure in the background. As we hear on the new trio album, John Scofield's Swallow Tales, Swallow is one of the most versatile, and satisfying, bassists around. He is also a quirky and thoroughly appreciated composer, whose pieces have been played by Burton, of course, but also by Chick Corea, Carla Bley, Bill Evans, Art Farmer, and others.

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