John Scofield: Country for Old Men

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: John Scofield
LABELS: Impulse
ALBUM TITLE: John Scofield
WORKS: Country For Old Men
PERFORMER: John Scofield (guitar), Larry Goldings (piano/organ), Steve Swallow (bass), Bill Stewart (drums)
CATALOGUE NO: 506 2514 


The pun on the novel/film title is fun, but when the chuckles subside it becomes clear than this is a thoroughly noteworthy release, being both enjoyable and gently educational. It’s no surprise that a guitarist of John Scofield’s experience is entirely conversant with country music, even though a disc of this nature might be more expected from, say, Bill Frisell. However, what’s remarkable here is the way in which the music itself, rather than any statements about it, demonstrates the shared roots and myriad interconnections between jazz, the legacy of the blues and the complex history of country music; country standards by the likes of Hank Williams and Merle Haggard are allowed to wander into jazz territory or are deposited there and allowed to find their way back, all of which happens naturally and elegantly. Some of the organ parts are a little overstated, but the recorded sound is warmly intimate.


Roger Thomas