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John Scofield: That's What I Say: John Scofield Plays The Music of Ray Charles (2005)

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John Scofield: That's What I Say: John Scofield Plays The Music of Ray Charles Over the past decade, John Scofield has put out three types of albums. First, there are the acoustic post bop outings: Quiet, Works For Me, and his latest release, EnRoute. Second, there are the funk-jazz records: Grace Under Pressure, Hand Jive, and Groove Elation. And finally, there are the funky acid-soul-jazz records, A Go Go, Bump, Uberjam and Up All Night. That's What I Say falls squarely between the latter two categories. While it has the bluesy foundations of Hand Jive, it possesses the same groove that drives Uberjam.

Make no mistake; this is a Scofield record through and through. And it is tasteful throughout. Not once does Sco make the slightest attempt at showing off his chops. And yet not once does the listener yearn for more. These songs don't call for lightning-fast runs or esoteric chord changes; they're more about the groove and the feel. And that's where Larry Goldings comes in. Like Sco, his playing is beautifully understated, betraying complete command of both the music and his instrument. (After all, it's much harder to play one note than it is to play seven, is it not?)

And then there are the various vocalists and special guests. This was Sco's first time working with vocals, and in places it shows with his accompaniment, but for the most part the vocalists do every justice to their respective songs. The most surprising of the bunch is John Mayer, who turns in an admirable performance on "I Don't Need No Doctor. Mayer has recently been returning to his blues roots, and his playing on this album is no exception.

Other highlights include a completely funked out "Sticks and Stones, a version of "Hit The Road Jack whose horn theme hearkens back to the days of swing, and the swampy groove of "Unchain My Heart. Scofield manages to stay true to Charles' spirit while producing an album that is the natural extension of his current evolution.


Track Listing: Busted; What'd I Say; Sticks and Stones; I Don't Need No Doctor; Cryin' Time; I Can't Stop Loving You; Hit the Road Jack; Talkin' Bout You/I Got a Woman; Unchain My Heart (Part 1); Let's Go Get Stoned; Night Time is the Right Time; You Don't Know Me; Georgia on My Mind.

Personnel: John Scofield (guitar, leslie guitar, talking choir); Larry Goldings (Hammond B3 Organ, Wurlitzer, vibes, talking choir); Willie Weeks (bass, Ampeg baby bass, talking choir); Steve Jordan (drums, cocktail drums, watercooler jug; background vocals, finger snaps, tambourine, handclaps, talking choir); Dr. John (vocals, piano); Warren Haynes (vocals, bottleneck guitar); John Mayer (vocals, guitar); Aaron Neville (vocals); Mavis Staples (vocals); Manolo Badrena (percussion, timbales, Spanish speaking, tambourine); Alex Foster (tenor saxophone, heys and has); Earl Gardner (trumpet, heys and has); Howard Johnson (baritone saxophone, heys and has); Keith OQuinn (trombone, heys and has); Lisa Fischer (background vocals, hand claps); Vaneese Thomas (background vocals, hand claps); David Fathead Newman (tenor saxophone).

Record Label: Verve Music Group

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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