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A Fireside Chat With John Scofield

By Published: January 31, 2003

JS: Yeah, pretty much. Like I said, we were pretty much in the groove from touring. So we came in the studio and played each tune a couple of times and left it at that. We recorded direct to two track and we trusted the engineer to get a great mix and a great sound and we played just like we were playing gigs, except maybe we would do a song twice. Usually the first time was better (laughing). We pretty much recorded it straight out. We had reference point of playing a lot of concerts.

FJ: Favorite track?

JS: Of course my tunes are my favorite tunes. I take that back. Actually, what was surprising to me is that everybody's tunes all worked together so well. I think it is a nice program and we were just lucky that way. Dave would write a certain kind of tune or I would write another one, but they worked well together and they offset each other. But I loved playing everybody's music. I loved the challenge of playing these guys' tunes that everybody wrote. It's meaty stuff. We're not just playing blues or something. Every tune has a tricky little thing to it. I don't have any one favorite. I think it all goes together to make one big thing.

FJ: So this will be an ongoing project.

JS: Well, we're going to play some gigs, mainly a club gig at the Iridium in New York. It is hard to get everybody together because we're all bandleaders. There is talk of another tour in a couple of years in Europe. These are guys that I want to play with for the rest of my life in some way, shape, or form. We are not going to be a steady band, but that makes it all the more special. Once we are together, the music takes care of itself.

FJ: And the future?

JS: Well, I just made record with my band, which is the same band that made the Uberjam (Verve) CD. We were just in the studio and that will be coming out in May and it is called Up All Night.

FJ: The work for Verve may raise some eyebrows for those so accustomed to your Blue Note years.

JS: Yeah, right. It is kind of like dance music and funk or world jazz. It is something I have been into all my musical life, but it differed from ScoLoHoFo. Some may say that it is a really different kind of jazz, but to me, it hasn't been any problem. I like to mix it up a lot and I really enjoy the fact that when I am playing this electric stuff with samplers and electric rhythm sections and using funk rhythms that it still feels fresh to me. It feels like there is no blueprint for it. So we have to kind of make it up as we go along and make a way to make it creative. If you are playing in more standard jazz forms, which I love to do, you always have Bud Powell or Bill Evans or whoever, Charlie Parker, Coltrane, or Wayne Shorter, over your shoulder. It doesn't feel as much like that. Selfishly, it feels like it is more of an open road. Young people want to dance to the music too and I love it when they move to it and the whole thing starts grooving.

FJ: And soon Uberjam is a bridge to Miles and Trane.

JS: Let's hope so, Fred, because that is what I have always loved, is jazz and hopefully, they can hear that in my stuff. They can hear that, I would think and some of them may get turned on to some other stuff through that.

FJ: Holiday wishes?

JS: Peace for 2003.

Related Links:
Joe Lovano Interview

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