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John Scofield - Swallow Tales makes 'JazzTimes: Top 40 New Jazz Releases of 2020'

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JazzTimes writes......For our 2020 Year in Review section, we calculated the top 40 new releases and top 10 historical/reissue recordings of 2020 based on year-end lists by our writers. They were asked to choose the 10 best new releases and five best historical titles-i.e., albums and box sets consisting primarily of music recorded 10 or more years ago. Some discs may have slipped through the cracks, but one that didn't was John Scofield - Swallow Tales (ECM).

The tune's the thing as Sco and bass guitarist Steve Swallow bring new life to the latter's distinctive compositions. The longtime collaborators, with drummer Bill Stewart, imbue everything with lightness, vitality, and synchronicity. "Falling Grace" is built on a loop-like structure, while "Eidertown" offers a catchy bluesy-to-bop melody; Swallow brought both to Gary Burton's groups. Other gems: Ballad "Away," twisting burner "Radio," and the now-laidback "Awful Coffee," featuring one of Swallow's most melodic solos. PHILIP BOOTH

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