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Gov't Mule with John Scofield at the Ogden Theatre

Geoff Anderson By

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While Haynes ran through at least half a dozen different guitars throughout the evening, Scofield generally stuck to a single Ibanez hollow body. The only exception was when he picked up a solid body electric for some solos on the encore. Each player had lengthy solos on just about every tune, sometimes trading licks back and forth. Each is a professional that gives it all he's got for each performance, but some friendly competition didn't hurt and both Scofield and Haynes responded with fierce, emotional solos all evening. The solos of each player reflected, at least a little, his background with Scofield's jazz influence at or just below the surface most of the time. Haynes, meanwhile, was more consistently bluesy and favored the occasional rock power chord.

The unison playing tightened up considerably in the second set. A highlight was Scofield's composition "Hottentot" from A Go Go (Verve, 1998) That one had the guitarists locked together like a couple of sumo wrestlers. The follow up tune was written by another Miles alum, Wayne Shorter. "Tom Thumb" fit right in amongst the jazz-rock-blues jamming. The closer of the second set, Little Feat's "Spanish Moon" was a highlight of the show. The choice of this tune was another natural because it's one the Mule has covered over the years and it fits perfectly with Scofield's funk fixation. On this one, keyboard player Louis broke out a valve trombone and joined the guitarists in their unison playing on the signature lick, adding a little New Orleans flavor to the festivities. Haynes tapped Louis for a solo and at one point he soloed on the trombone and Hammond B-3 simultaneously (would that be a duet selfie?).

Sco-Mule wrapped up the evening with John Lennon's "Working Class Hero" for the encore. This one was much more subdued than the frantic, funky "Spanish Moon," but the band raised the intensity level in the middle and it proved to be an excellent choice to leave the audience wanting more.

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