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Artist Profiles

John Scofield: Sco'in For It

By Published: September 21, 2006
Still, with all of the fabulous people he has heard and played with, Scofield gives fellow guitarist Jim Hall the seat of honor in his pantheon. "Jim is special. There's an orthodox jazz guitar sound that everybody kind of shares. But Jim brought a certain elegance, vocal quality and incredible hip sensibility to jazz guitar that I don't think had been there before he came on the scene and it ended up influencing me and my whole generation. He brought in other elements of beauty and a lyrical sound. He's an unbelievable musician. He transcends the guitar.

Now Scofield is himself one of the venerated leaders who not only imparts his wisdom to young players but is also wise enough to keep his ears open. "You learn from every musician you play with that can really play. And when you get to be my age there's a bunch of guys that are incredible and I've been lucky that I've gotten to play with some. And you learn from them just like you learn from anybody who's great. And it doesn't matter how old you are. And you get the intensity of youth in your band. Sometimes people my age, you know, we get a little complacent maybe, and so I need to be kicked in the ass, that's for sure! And that's part of this tradition of the music, too, you know? That's the thing that gets overlooked when people write about jazz. They talk about the individuals, they talk about the compositions, but it's a very subtle thing, the way groups play together and create this energy that's bigger than all of the individuals.

"I think we all just share our experiences,' continues Scofield. "That's all you can do. And I have more experience than a younger guy, so they learn from that just like I've learned from the more experienced guys that I've played with. And that's all you can do, is tell 'em what happened and your take on it. The beautiful thing is, we're passing down this knowledge from the older guys. It's like life itself. And in jazz it's a great thing.

Selected Discography

Trio Beyond, Saudades (ECM, 2006)
John Scofield, EnRoute (Verve, 2004)
John Scofield, Groove Elation (Blue Note, 1995)

John Scofield, Pick Hits Live (Gramavision, 1987)

Miles Davis, Star People (Columbia, 1982) John Scofield, East Meets West (Black Hawk, 1977)

Photo Credit
Jose Manuel Horna

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