COMPOSERS: John Scofield
ALBUM TITLE: John Scofield
PERFORMER: John Scofield (el g); Billy Martin (d); John Medeski (org); Chris Wood (b)
CATALOGUE NO: 539 979-2 (distr. Polygram)
Welcome to the postmodern supper club: order up your nouveau chitlins and settle down to a delicious new take on the greasy guitar/organ combo. Scofield’s scrupulously modern music always has a strong funky, blues flavour. In this second album for Verve, the man who established a wide following with Miles Davis in the early Eighties has surrendered entirely to his earliest influences and made a grooving soul jazz album, with all the trimmings.
The rhythm section is well chosen – Martin, Medeski and Wood is an established touring trio whose retro sound has a strong following on the US club circuit. Scofield’s clanging, shunting chords and stubbornly measured solo excursions add a distinctly arthouse dimension to their already skewed variation on the blues theme.
Elsewhere, his clipped fuzz guitar ’comping’ suggests that James Brown samples have been brought into the mix. Though they have an authentically trashy Sixties feel and, led by Medeski’s keyboard, head into Sun Ra territory towards the end of the set, all the tunes are Sco’ originals. I hope there’s enough material left over for second helpings. Garry Booth