160

Scott Fields: Bitter Love Songs

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Scott Fields: Bitter Love Songs While the sardonic album title alludes to a session fraught with rancorous despair, guitarist Scott Fields' Bitter Love Songs is, perhaps ironically, one of his most accessible efforts. Born in Chicago, but now based in Cologne, Germany, Fields recorded this date in his new home town with German bassist Sebastian Gramss and Portuguese drummer Joao Lobo. An iconoclast who favors unusual instrumental combinations, this is his first guitar trio recording since Mamet (Delmark, 2001), with bassist Michael Formanek and drummer Michael Zerang.



In the scathing liner notes Fields explains that the unsettled themes, fitful rhythms and grating dissonances elicited by the trio are intended to invoke the nerve-wracking nausea that accompanies the impending dissolution of romance. While all of these traits are present, they are often fairly subtle; in contrast to his exotic conceptual projects, this loose trio session is actually somewhat conventional.



With Fields as the principle soloist, Gramss and Lobo follow the guitarist's lead, providing stirring rhythmic accompaniment that vacillates in tempo from casual to frantic. The majority of the tunes saunter at a buoyant mid-tempo clip with periods of intermittent turbulence. Occasionally reaching a fevered pitch, but never boiling over, the trio generates a more agreeable mood than one would expect from such song titles as "My Love Is Love, Your Love Is Hate" and "Your Parents Must Be Just Ecstatic Now." Only "I Was Good Enough for You Until Your Friends Butted In" breaks form with a languorous abstract blues.



A proponent of structured improvisation based on tone row manipulation, Fields conveys his enigmatic statements with focused intensity. He fires rapid salvoes of knotty linear cadences at regular staccato intervals from his clean-toned hollow body. At his most feverish, he conjures blistering chromatic note clusters as he scuttles across his fretboard. Together, Gramss' elastic walking bass patterns, Lobo's shuffling trap set ruminations and Fields' thorny commentary coil into a kaleidoscopic mosaic of expressionistic interplay.



Despite the derisive title, Bitter Love Songs is a compelling example of modern jazz guitar improvisation supported by an empathetic rhythm section. For aficionados of unfettered guitar traditions, this is essential listening.


Track Listing: Yea, Sure, We Can Still Be Friends, Whatever; Go Ahead, Take the Furniture, at Least You Helped Pick It Out; My Love Is Love, Your Love Is Hate; Your Parents Must Be Just Ecstatic Now; I Was Good Enough for You Until Your Friends Butted In; You Used to Say I Love You but So What Now.

Personnel: Scott Fields: electric guitar; Sebastian Gramss: bass; Joao Lobo: drums.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Jim Hall Jim Hall
guitar
Vijay Iyer Vijay Iyer
piano
Gary Burton Gary Burton
vibraphone
Bela Fleck Bela Fleck
banjo
Terje Rypdal Terje Rypdal
guitar
Scott Kinsey Scott Kinsey
keyboard
Mark Whitecage Mark Whitecage
sax, alto
Zony Mash
band/orchestra
Pierre Favre Pierre Favre
drums
Jazz Mandolin Project Jazz Mandolin Project
band/orchestra

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "When You Wish Upon a Star" CD/LP/Track Review When You Wish Upon a Star
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 19, 2016
Read "Brückenshlag" CD/LP/Track Review Brückenshlag
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 9, 2016
Read "Shoebox View" CD/LP/Track Review Shoebox View
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 4, 2016
Read "El Toro" CD/LP/Track Review El Toro
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 20, 2016
Read "Earth Tones" CD/LP/Track Review Earth Tones
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 5, 2016
Read "Impulsive Illuminations" CD/LP/Track Review Impulsive Illuminations
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 28, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!