COMPOSERS: John Schofield
ALBUM TITLE: John Schofield: Past Present
WORKS: Past Present
PERFORMER: John Scofield (guitar), Joe Lovano (tenor saxophone), Larry Grenadier (double bass), Bill Stewart (drums)
CATALOGUE NO: 474 8510
Possibly titled Past Present because ‘Sco’ (John Scofield) called up his old Blue Note label mates, tenorist Joe Lovano and drummer Bill Stewart for this date, the material here reveals a reflective side to one of jazz music’s great guitarists. An influential sideman to later era Miles Davis, Scofield’s blues-based playing usually emphasises the groove.
Here, in studied unison with Lovano’s restrained but muscular playing, his famous Gibson guitar is put to a little more subtle use. The fat, glowing sound is still in place – Jim Hall meets BB King – and judicious squeezes on the distorting Chorus pedal are familiar, but Scofield goes deeper and sometimes more sombrely than usual. He has much to reflect on – notably the death of his son, which inspired some of these new, stay in the mind, melodies. But there’s still a forward-looking whimsy in the music that’s altogether an understated and unalloyed pleasure. Garry Booth