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John Scofield: Bump

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John Scofield, who's played with everyone from Miles and Mingus to Medeski Martin and Wood, has finally gone and done released a classic of 21st century groove jazz. Not exactly the Hammond-style soul jazz of it's predecessor A Go Go, Bump — one of those rare cases where the sequel surpasses the original — attains pure groove nirvana, and pretty much straight-ahead gratis <>. He's taken his own highly personalized guitar and composition styles (still apparently able to play anything he can think), plucking chords and slicing off stubborn single notes like sausage segments into unpredictable, snake-fingered-like twisting runs, and applied it to groove. It's just a little less "out-field," more "infield," but still Scofield<>. Also, for the first time he really experiments with sonic possibilities, tweaking timbre with sparingly sprinkled guitar FX, acoustics, multiple overdubs, and thankfully subtle keyboard soundscapes. Think Jimmy Smith covers Another Green World ?!? Or Another Grant Green World ?!? Primary directive, though, as he himself says, "I wanted even more of as funky feel than I got before." Yep.

Straight down to biznizz with Déjà vu-spurring opener "Three Sisters," you think "I know this song," and although you don't, in another time and place — say 1967 — it could've been a funky radio hit. Other highlights include a swell, Zappa-esque squishy-wah wah lead on "Beep Beep"; bongos a-blazing, bossa nueveau<> lounge on "Swinganova," perfect for a David Lynch remake of La Dolce Vida "; "Groan Man," which sports Classic Funk Sound #43, the old chunky, gurgly, bubbly Starsky-wakka-jawakka wah wah guitar; and finally the space age Booker T. -sound of "Kelpers," a great jumping groove with a catchy octave riff. (Named for funky "free-form" audience dancers, the writer must admit to his own share of oddly unstoppable, dorky gyrations at a recent Scofield show).

No matter how far out of bounds from local Groovesville he goes with harmonics, timbre or technique, on Bump he always returns to the continually chugging groove orbit, and it doesn't let up for (close to) one solid, classic hour of prime uncut funk. This is dance and groove played by first-rate jazz musicians. You kids can go take your machines and play in someone else's backyard. This is for the big boys.

Record Label: Verve Music Group

Style: Funk/Groove


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