All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review


Scott Fields Ensemble: Beckett

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Beckett follows in the conceptual footsteps of Mamet (Delmark, 2001), guitarist Scott Fields' previous project inspired by an author. Tracking the thematic similarities between Beckett's writing and Fields' compositions is a tenuous prospect, like any project that yields inspiration from a divergent art form. Nonetheless, the album provides a challenging and rewarding listen on its own, with or without knowledge of its genesis.

From aleatoric excursions to blistering, jittery free-bop, Fields has an ear for adventurous, unconventional sounds. Christening his work "post-free jazz," Fields' complex, multi-part compositions reveal themselves gradually, providing ample room for solo expression and unified thematic development. Packed with intricate counterpoint and tight group interplay, these labyrinthine works blur the line between the composed and the improvised with kaleidoscopic, pre-written passages and dense, free-wheeling improvisations.

Joining him for the first time are three new collaborators. Ubiquitous percussionist John Hollenbeck is a fountainhead of unique textures and unconventional rhythms, his pneumatic inventions contribute an array of percussive wonder to the session. Tenor saxophonist Matthias Schubert blends fervent angularity with a flighty, mercurial zeal, especially during his spasmodic tirade on the agitated "What Where." Cellist Scott Roller employs a diverse approach, blending a sober, singing tone with a scathing bow attack. His lyrical turn on the pensive introspection of "Come and Go" is as delicately melodious as his assertive assault on "What Where" is jarring. The leader shines in this spartan context, his bright tone accenting a razor sharp fusillade of notes one minute, genteel chords the next (sometimes together), as on the zany swing of "Rockaby."

Although conceptual allusions to literature might suggest haughty pretension, Beckett is actually Fields' most varied and swinging record in years. Even at their most abstract, these are engaging compositions, bolstered by zealous group interaction, rich harmonic ingenuity and stunning dynamic range. Like the work of its dedicatee, one listen to this album won't do it justice.

Track Listing: Breath; Play; Come and Go; What Where; Rockaby.

Personnel: Scott Fields: electric guitar; Matthias Schubert: tenor saxophone; Scott Roller: cello; John Hollenbeck percussion.

Title: Beckett | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records


comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles

Minaret Minuets

Stash Records


What We Talk

Stash Records



New World Records



Stash Records


Related Articles

Read Wherever You're Starting From CD/LP/Track Review
Wherever You're Starting From
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 21, 2018
Read Live in Miami @ the WDNA Jazz Gallery CD/LP/Track Review
Live in Miami @ the WDNA Jazz Gallery
by Jerome Wilson
Published: March 21, 2018
Read From Silence to Somewhere CD/LP/Track Review
From Silence to Somewhere
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 21, 2018
Read Never Bet The Devil Your Head CD/LP/Track Review
Never Bet The Devil Your Head
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 21, 2018
Read The Questions CD/LP/Track Review
The Questions
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 20, 2018
Read Meerkat Parade CD/LP/Track Review
Meerkat Parade
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 20, 2018
Read "Sedimental You" CD/LP/Track Review Sedimental You
by John Sharpe
Published: March 30, 2017
Read "Phenobarbital Sessions" CD/LP/Track Review Phenobarbital Sessions
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: February 2, 2018
Read "Migration Blues" CD/LP/Track Review Migration Blues
by Chris Mosey
Published: March 26, 2017
Read "Hiromi & Edmar Castaneda Live In Montreal" CD/LP/Track Review Hiromi & Edmar Castaneda Live In Montreal
by Jeff Winbush
Published: February 10, 2018
Read "Reimagined" CD/LP/Track Review Reimagined
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 8, 2017
Read "Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman" CD/LP/Track Review Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 23, 2017