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John Scofield: Live 3 Ways

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John Scofield
Live 3 Ways
Blue Note Records
2005

15 years ago last May, guitarist John Scofield dusted off a few of his many musical hats before cameras at Chelsea Studios in New York. The result, recently released on DVD, is a tightly knit bonnet of jazz, blues and soul, underscored as always by Scofield's distinct guitar sound.

The "3 Ways of the disc's title refer to the three separate ensembles appearing that night. The first - a trio of Scofield, organist Don Pullen and drummer Marvin "Smitty Smith - opens the proceedings with a balance of nuance and all-out energy. If nothing else, the two tunes purveyed by these three - Thelonious Monk's "Bolivar Blues and Steve Swallow's "Charlie Chan - are a reminder of Scofield's ability to turn the charge up or down, depending on occasion, accompaniment and mood. In this case, the choice was mainly up, due in no small part to the high-octane support of both Smith and Pullen.

The second act sees Scofield joined in duo by pianist Dr. John, the infamous "Gris Gris Man of New Orleans. Fitting form with company, Scofield changes gears with southern-tinged renditions of Percy Mayfield's "Please Send Me Someone to Love and Little Walter Jacobs' "My Baby . Both are stretched with style and finesse, Scofield's sparking licks colliding in mid-air with the Doctor's rich, ambling harmonies.

For the third and final act of the evening, the guitarist takes the stage with his then quartet of Joe Lovano on tenor, Anthony Cox on bass and John Reilly on drums. The highlight here is the magnetic chemistry between Scofield and Lovano. With each jagged lick off Scofield's strings comes a full- bodied response from Lovano's horn, giving the pieces an unique and refreshing vibe.

Track Listing: 1 Ba-Lue Boliver Ba-Lues-are; 2 Charlie Chan; 3 Please Send Me Someone To Love; 4 My Babe; 5 Wabash III; 6 Meant To Be; 7 Big Fan; 8 Keep Me In Mind; 9 Cissy Strut

Personnel: John Scofield, Don Pullen, Marvin "Smitty" Smith, Dr. John and Joe Lovano

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