7p show • $40 (front rows $50) | 9:30p show • $30 (front rows $40)
John Scofield’s guitar work has influenced jazz since the late 70’s and is going strong today. Possessor of a very distinctive sound and stylistic diversity, Scofield is a masterful jazz improviser whose music generally falls somewhere between post-bop, funk edged jazz, and R & B.
Born in Ohio and raised in suburban Connecticut, Scofield took up the guitar at age 11, inspired by both rock and blues players. He attended Berklee College of Music in Boston. After a debut recording with Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker, Scofield was a member of the Billy Cobham-George Duke band for two years. In 1977 he recorded with Charles Mingus, and joined the Gary Burton quartet. He began his international career as a bandleader and recording artist in 1978. From 1982-1985, Scofield toured and recorded with Miles Davis. His Davis stint placed him firmly in the foreground of jazz consciousness as a player and composer.
Since that time he has prominently led his own groups in the international Jazz scene, recorded over 30 albums as a leader (many already classics) including collaborations with contemporary favorites like Pat Metheny, Charlie Haden, Eddie Harris, Medeski, Martin & Wood, Bill Frisell, Brad Mehldau, Mavis Staples, Government Mule, Jack DeJohnette, Joe Lovano and Phil Lesh. He’s played and recorded with Tony Williams, Jim Hall, Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock, Joe Henderson, Dave Holland, Terumasa Hino among many jazz legends. Throughout his career Scofield has punctuated his traditional jazz offerings with funk-oriented electric music. All along, the guitarist has kept an open musical mind.
A Moment’s Peace
A bona fide guitar hero and masterful improviser, John Scofield has covered a wide spectrum of musical styles with rare authority over the last four decades of his celebrated career. From funk and fusion to swinging jazz standards, rockfueled jams, lush orchestral collaborations, earthy blues and old-time gospel music, Scofield has imbued each style with his distinctive six-string voice, earning accolades for his triumphs along the way.
On A Moment’s Peace, his followup to 2009’s gospel-drenched Piety Street, Scofield and his all-star crew of pianist/organist Larry Goldings (James Taylor, Norah Jones, Walter Becker), bassist Scott Colley (Jim Hall, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny) and drummer Brian Blade (Wayne Shorter, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan) luxuriate in ballads associated with such legendary interpreters of song as Billie Holiday, Abbey Lincoln, Nina Simone and John Coltrane. Included in the collection, Scofield’s third outing on EmArcy, are five new originals by the guitar great, along with soulful interpretations of the lyrical Lennon-McCartney number “I Will” and Carla Bley’s serene “Lawns.”
“It’s an album of slow, gentle music,” says the perennial poll-winning guitarist. “But at the same time, we didn’t want it to be easy listening. We tried to really play on all the tunes. For me, no matter what kind of music, it’s really important that it be fresh and that we’re really playing something. The creativity, when accompanying or soloing, has to be there.”
From sublime renderings of “I Want to Talk About You” and “You Don’t Know What Love Is” to “Gee Baby Ain’t I Good to You” and “I Loves You Porgy,” Scofield fills each of these timeless gems with an uncommonly expressive approach to his instrument while stretching out in the tradition of the great melodic improvisers. And his highly interactive rhythm section, marked by Colley’s formidable presence on bass, Goldings’ thoughtful orchestrations on both piano and organ and Blade’s sensitive, intuitive touch on the kit, helps make all of these tunes come alive in the moment. Scofield has high praise for his valued sidemen on A Moment’s Peace. “Some guys are interactive in kind of a bulldozer way,” he says. “But Scott, Larry and Brian are all able to be supportive of the music while making their personal contributions. There’s a kind of a magic in that.”
While this session marks the first time that Scofield and Blade have played together on a recording, it’s a reunion of sorts for the other two band members. Bassist Colley played in the guitarist’s touring group during the early 1990s and keyboardist Goldings has had an ongoing musical relationship with Scofield over the years, having appeared on three of his previous recordings — 1993’s Hand Jive , 1995’s Groove Elation and 2005’s That’s What I Say_– and also being a key member of Trio Beyond, with drummer Jack DeJohnette (documented on 2006’s live _Saudades). Says Scofield, “I see Larry as one of the great orchestrators. That’s what a keyboard player does when they play with a band. And unfortunately, a lot of keyboard players take it in a direction I don’t necessarily want to go. But I just always agree with Larry’s choices. For me, he’s the perfect guy to play with because we cover a lot of the same bases. He likes to play all the same kind of music I do. And whatever project you have, if you bring him in the room he will add so much to it. It’s the same with Brian. All the guys, in their own way, really enhance the music by the choices they make. And as the leader, you want to trust their instincts. I didn’t have to say one word to anybody on any of this music. We just played the songs.”
Regarding the relaxed accord that his empathetic crew strikes on A Moment’s Peace, Scofield says, “These guys can play beautifully and unhurried and really capture the mood of a song. To be relaxed but have it be fresh and energetic…that’s the trick. And I tried to keep the music somewhat simple so everybody could just play. When you have personalities like this, you just let them play and the music comes together in its own way.”
He adds, “It’s the first time I’ve tried to do anything like this since Quiet,” referring to his 1996 Verve album, which focused on soothing melodies played exclusively acoustic guitar. “And I kept the songs short because I wanted the songs to be the thing. We do solo but the interpretation of the songs is our primary goal.”