Steve Swallow was born in October 4, 1940 in Fair Lawn, New Jersey.
He is a jazz bassist and composer noted for his numerous collaborations with musicians including Jimmy Giuffre, Gary Burton and Carla Bley.
He was one of the first jazz double bassists to switch entirely to electric bass guitar. Swallow studied piano and trumpet, as a child, before turning to the double bass at age 14.
While attending a prep school, he began trying his hand in jazz improvisation.
In 1960, he left Yale, where he was studying composition, and settled in New York City, playing at the time in Jimmy Giuffre's trio along with Paul Bley. After joining Art Farmer's quartet in 1964, Swallow began to write.
It is in the 1960s that his long-term association with Gary Burton's various bands began.
In 1974-76 Swallow taught at the Berklee College of Music. He contributed several of his compositions to the Berklee students who assembled the first edition of The Real Book.
He later recorded an album of the same name, with the picture of a well-worn, coffee-stained Real Book on the cover.
Swallow has consistently won the electric bass category in Down Beat yearly polls, both Critics' and Readers', since the mid-80s. His compositions have been covered by, among others, Jim Hall (who recorded his very first tune, "Eiderdown", Bill Evans, Chick Corea, Stan Getz and Gary Burton.