Steve Swallow was born in New York City in 1940, and
spent his childhood in Fair Lawn, New Jersey. Before
turning to the acoustic bass at age 14, he studied piano
(with Howard Kasschau, who also taught Nelson Riddle)
and trumpet. His otherwise miserable adolescence was
brightened by his discovery of jazz. He took many of his
first stabs at improvisation with Ian Underwood (who
subsequently became a Mother Of Invention and an L.A.
studio ace), with whom he attended a swank New
England private school.
During his years at Yale University he studied
composition with Donald Martino, and played dixieland
with many of the greats, including Pee Wee Russell,
Buck Clayton and Vic Dickenson