48

John Scofield Trio: EnRoute

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Cerebral jazz fans play in the same sound box as the John Scofield Trio does for 73 minutes of collective prowess. EnRoute is aptly named, for it is a musical journey whose speculative effect needs no conclusion. The trip is worth a long ride and that is what we get.

John Scofield’s exercise of unconventional playing embraces the kind of musical exploration that drives jazz forward with optimism. In nine songs, Scofield articulates ideas whose foundations transcend so many boundaries that EnRoute could serve as an educational analysis of improvisation.

The live recording provides quite a set. On “Wee,” drummer Bill Stewart’s downbeats nicely propel Scofield’s improvisations on the beat to encourage and anticipate the combustion that follows. On “Toogs,” Scofield’s guitar surges and recedes like a tide that one can only feel inside the groove. “Over Big Top” concludes the recording in the more reverent style that has characterized Scofield’s career.

Bill Stewart’s holistic approach to the drums speaks volumes about the power of jazz literacy in younger players. Stewart, younger than his trio mates by decades, clearly inspires Scofield and Swallow into areas that jazz drumming often dares not to go. Stewart’s fearless quest for greater rhythmic literacy drives the cumulative innovation of this record.

“Hammock Soliloquy” is the highlight of EnRoute. Scofield, Swallow and Stewart revisit the hammock theme in altered reprise to show us how far a field they take us in between such returns. Swallow’s solo raises the bass clef to the height of seasoned creativity. Stewart’s multitudinous tom work lulls us inside our own serenity before returning to the final refrain. This is one literary soliloquy.

“Over Big Top” is precisely the tour de force that concludes a record of huge aspiration. Take the most intense and inspired playing one can imagine on bass, guitar and drums, give each its turn to raise the instrument’s playing to the status of anthem and you get this eleven minutes. By song’s end, listeners cheer as loudly as the crowd at the Blue Note did when this record was documented.

Visit Verve on the web.


Track Listing: Wee; Toogs; Name That Tune; Hammock Soliloquy; Bag; It Is Written; Alfie; Travel John; Over Big Top.

Personnel: John Scofield: guitar; Steve Swallow: electric bass; Bill Stewart: drums.

Title: EnRoute | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Verve Music Group


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Study of Touch CD/LP/Track Review The Study of Touch
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 20, 2017
Read Another North CD/LP/Track Review Another North
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Gledalec CD/LP/Track Review Gledalec
by John Sharpe
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Flux Reflux CD/LP/Track Review Flux Reflux
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Christmas With Champian CD/LP/Track Review Christmas With Champian
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Harmony of Difference CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read "Birdhoused" CD/LP/Track Review Birdhoused
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 22, 2017
Read "Open Book" CD/LP/Track Review Open Book
by Doug Collette
Published: September 9, 2017
Read "Color Tones" CD/LP/Track Review Color Tones
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 2, 2017
Read "Samba Para a Vida" CD/LP/Track Review Samba Para a Vida
by Edward Blanco
Published: August 7, 2017
Read "The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren" CD/LP/Track Review The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 16, 2017
Read "Cultural Capital" CD/LP/Track Review Cultural Capital
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 4, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.