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John Scofield: A Go Go

Ed Kopp By

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Speaking of funk, here's a match made in heaven: Medeski, Martin and Wood, one of the hottest young electric-jazz combos on the planet (both in popularity and skill), teamed with John Scofield, one of the baddest jazz guitarists ever. As you might expect, A Go Go is vamp-laden and very smart.

Medeski, Martin and Wood are cool with the kids, so this one should make Sco a pile of dough. I caught MWW last year at a jazz fest,where they drew throngs of energetic college people — mainly guys — who were all doing what I call the "spastic white-boy dance." If you've been to a rock concert lately, you may have witnessed the spastic white-boy dance up close. It goes something like this: stand on your seat, block everybody else's view, and flail your arms around like a chicken on acid. In fairness, I must say that MMW managed to put this old fart in a bit of a dancin' mood, too — no easy accomplishment, that.

A Go Go shows Scofield can be a team player. The twisted bluesy solos are here, but they're more concise than usual — Sco knows that long solos seldom improve the groove, and MMW does nothing but groove. Scofield plucks some chunky rhythmic chords and tasteful phrases here and there, while Medeski, Martin and Wood charge along like a funked-up machine. Martin is one of very few drummers who effectively emulate hip-hop rhythms on acoustic drums, and Medeski perculates on Wurlitzer, clavinet and piano with the same kind of restraint as Scofield. All four players complement each other extremely well, and they're clearly on a mission from the Godfather — of soul, that is.

A Go Go is enchanting, whirling, trance- inducing. The spastic white boys will love it, and so do I.

Track Listing: A Go Go; Chank; Boozer; Southern Pacific; Jeep on 35; Kubrick; Green Tea; Hottentot; Chicken Dog; Deadzy.

Personnel: ohn Scofield: guitar; John Medeski: organ, piano; Chris Wood: bass; Billy Martin: drums.

Title: A Go Go | Year Released: 1998 | Record Label: Verve Music Group

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