All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

304

The John Scofield Trio: EnRoute

Doug Collette By

Sign in to view read count
EnRoute may be one of the most remarkable recordings John Scofield has made during a redoubtable career that includes a stint with Miles Davis, a tenure with Billy Cobham, and projects with the likes of Pat Metheny and Medeski Martin & Wood. The level of inspiration on this live set recorded last December at the Blue Note in New York is usually the result of constant roadwork on the part of players who have been together for years at a time. While Scofield has played before with bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Bill Stewart, their tour last fall was the first collaboration among them in a number of years.

And though Scofield is the most prominent name here, the music is the real star because all three members of the trio—including bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Bill Stewart—contribute equally. Any one of the three could've taken marquee billing on this CD as the music teems with ideas coming from all directions right from the start on "Wee. Throughout the disc, you hear an almost telepathic communication between these musicians that allows them to pickup ideas from each other and expand upon them with their respective instruments. To that end, this music, as on "Bag, is just about as pure as jazz can get without going completely free-form. Yet the threesome are wise enough to work with just enough structure to allow them touchstones to work from: hear the patience with which they explore "Alfie, reaffirming the axiom that the ballad is in fact the truest test of the musician's mettle.

It's laudable John Scofield never goes too long in the jamband scene without returning to the traditional forms. No question he's raised his profile by playing to younger audiences in recent years, but, even adapting his approach, he has never sounded trendy, in part because his unique combination of fluid jazz guitar attack married to the angular blues texture of his sound, is just as effective in either genre. For EnRoute , Scofield's sound becomes all the more sinuous, as it's totally free of effects—which in turn reflects the purity of his playing and his love of collaboration. And this dynamic translates directly into his partnership with Swallow and Stewart, because there's a spontaneous sense of joy about their interactions here that is absolutely sublime—this is whey they call it playing music. No worries about a wrong note with these guys and accordingly, not a wrong note to be heard. (Notwithstanding the beauty of editing your performance, of course!)

It's a further tribute to the humility of these three artists that the music takes precedence over billing. In the end, it is the music that triumphs, with the musicians as a means to that end, a process they seem eminently willing to embrace.


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

Related Articles

Read iQba - Jazz Meets Cuban Timba CD/LP/Track Review
iQba - Jazz Meets Cuban Timba
by Troy Dostert
Published: October 21, 2018
Read Globe Unity - 50 Years CD/LP/Track Review
Globe Unity - 50 Years
by John Sharpe
Published: October 21, 2018
Read Murals CD/LP/Track Review
Murals
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 21, 2018
Read Accelerator CD/LP/Track Review
Accelerator
by Doug Collette
Published: October 21, 2018
Read Little Big CD/LP/Track Review
Little Big
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: October 21, 2018
Read Shades CD/LP/Track Review
Shades
by Doug Collette
Published: October 20, 2018
Read "California Boogie" CD/LP/Track Review California Boogie
by Jim Olin
Published: July 9, 2018
Read "Danza Imposible" CD/LP/Track Review Danza Imposible
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 20, 2017
Read "Nicola Conte presents Cosmic Forest: The Spiritual Sounds of MPS" CD/LP/Track Review Nicola Conte presents Cosmic Forest: The Spiritual Sounds...
by Chris May
Published: September 8, 2018
Read "Never Bet The Devil Your Head" CD/LP/Track Review Never Bet The Devil Your Head
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 9, 2018
Read "Pulse/Quartet" CD/LP/Track Review Pulse/Quartet
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: January 19, 2018
Read "Mønk" CD/LP/Track Review Mønk
by Chris May
Published: September 20, 2018