Having learned to find and make a place for himself in the bands of George Duke
and Miles Davis
, John Scofield has gone on to perform similar magic with artists as disparate as Medeski Martin & Wood
and Phil Lesh
& Friends. His latest affiliations once again find the guitarist/composer displaying his uncanny ability to sublimate himself in a group setting, while still retaining his distinctive persona as a musician: that singular style emanating from that perfect sweet spot between blues and jazz is tailor-made for integration into both Scary Goldings and the Adam Deitch
Quartet. Each title in its own way defies facile labeling largely because all the musicians involved, not just their esteemed guest, are hardly reticent to stretch the boundaries of modern jazz to incorporate rhythmic elements emblematic of contemporary music at large.
Scary Goldings Scary Goldings Live Featuring John Scofield
An otherwise self-sufficient collective called Scary Pockets
becomes Scary Goldings when led by keyboardist Larry Goldings
, a frequent collaborator of John Scofield's. It's hardly a surprise, then, how the venerable guitarist fully and completely immerses himself into the collective: the unit fivesome moves as one, whether bouncing with great elasticity on a number like "Disco Pills" or digging deep into a groove for "Day Old Socks." Over the course of these nine tracks and forty minutes (available on vinyl and streaming), no one intentionally outshines anyone elsethis is a humble groupbut drummer Ted Poor invariably draws attention: he simultaneously functions as the fulcrum of balance in the sound as well as the rudder that directs constant forward motion. And there's color aplenty all around too: hear Goldings' wiggling of the organ keys complementing Scofield's staccato runs during the aptly-titled "Professor Vicarious." Quick action abounds during Scary Goldings Live Featuring John Scofield
and it's delightfully infectious too, so it compels multiple playings, not only in quick succession, but also in its nine track entirety (if only to hear the scintillating harmonic note at the very end).
Adam Deitch Quartet Roll the Tape
Golden Wolf Records
The Adam Deitch Quartet is much more than a skeletal version of Lettuce
, the neo funk band for which the drummer/composer/producer has functioned as de facto leader for some years now. This foursome not only includes the men with the horns who were/are an integral components of the larger groupsaxophonist Ryan Zoidis
and trumpeter Eric Benny Bloom
but also the versatile presence of keyboardist Wil Blades
: the percolating sound of his organ on the title song is an ever-so-effective contrast for the elegant lines sailing from the wind instruments over the earthy beats of Deitch. Likewise, the man with whom Billy Martin
(Royal Potato Family, 2012) and who has collaborated with another drummer non pareil, Scott Amendola
see Greatest Hits
(Sazi Records, 2016)spurs on his bandmates to dig deep into such syncopations that dominate "The Green Light." Duly accentuating the rhythm(s), then precisely punctuating them, guitarist John Scofield tosses his customarily stylish, blues-jazz runs into "Mushroom Gravy:" the fretboard master's sole appearance early in the ten track sequence represents artful pacing for this sixty-minute outing, especially as the languorous "Alone Together" ratifies this LP's inclusion on 'Best Jazz of 2023' lists.
Tracks and Personnel Live Featuring John Scofield
Tracks: We Come In Peace; The Shakes; Professor Vicarious; Disco Pills; Take My Jet; Louis Cole Sucks; The Shiner; Day Old Socks; Scary Poppins.
Personnel: Larry Goldings: organ; Jack Conte: keyboards; John Scofield: guitar; Ryan Lerman: guitar; Ted Poor: drums. Roll The Tape
Tracks: Lay It Back; Mushroom Gravy; Roll The Tape; The Green Light; Alone Together; Language Interlude 3; Play On Play; 7 Down; Have Faith; Language Interlude 4.
Personnel: Wil Blades: organ, clavinet; Ryan Zoidis: saxophone; Eric 'Benny' Bloom: trumpet; Adam Deitch: drums, percussion.
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