Stories » John Scofield - Swallow Tales makes 'Jazz Police: 20 from 2020 - the New Music that Helped'

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John Scofield - Swallow Tales makes 'Jazz Police: 20 from 2020 - the New Music that Helped'

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2020 was the Year of the Rat which seems fitting for this year of plague. Concerts have been canceled, jazz clubs closed and it was a time when we needed music more than ever. If this dark cloud has a silver lining there must be serious wood-shedding going on right now and in 2021 after some normality returns we will witness a creative explosion of new music. But for now live streaming events help and both that and the new music released this year was a healing balm. We can take some comfort from the titles of new releases in which Matt Wilson gave us a Hug, Bill Frisell gave us a Valentine, Fred Hersch joined us in isolation with Songs From Home, Craig Taborn's Junk Magic acknowledged our lack of direction with Compass Confusion, John Scofield regaled us with Swallow Tales, Delfeayo Marsalis cheered us with a Jazz Party, and Carla Bley assures us Life Goes On.

2020 also included new releases recorded in the past: an Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers' recording from 1958 called Just Coolin' and sat in the vaults until now. Rollins in Holland from both studio and live recordings made in 1967 and never released. Charles Mingus @ Bremen 1964 & 1975 from two concerts a decade apart, the 1964 concert features Eric Dolphy on his final tour with Mingus and one of his last public performances before his death just two months later. And a live recording from Kieth Jarrett's Budapest Concert from 2016 which although not as from very long ago is poignantly significant as it was his final solo tour in light of Jarrett's announcement this year that he would never play publicly again after suffering two strokes in 2018.

Making the 'Jazz Police: 20 from 2020 – New Music that Helped' list was John Scofield's Swallow Tales was released on June 5th on ECM

John Scofield pays tribute to the music of electric bassist Steve Swallow in this album featuring all Swallow compositions. The trio features Scofield on guitar, Steve Swallow on electric bass, and Bill Stewart on drums. This same trio had recorded the album En Route together in 2004 and with a horn section in 2007 This and That. Despite Scofield's passion for funk and recent side trips into Americana Swallow Tales remains a solid and satisfying jazz outing presenting Swallow's music with subtlety and grace. The mood varies throughout as the slower "Away" has a sense of loss and longing while the uptempo "Radio" has a lighter feel. Swallow Tails also includes a wistful cover of Swallow's waltz "Hullo, Bolinas" which was also a Bill Evans favorite. Listen to "Hullo, Bolinas"

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