John Scofield

John Scofield

Over many decades, on many labels, the influential John Scofield has honed a distinctive guitar sound and compositional approach. On the eponymous John Scofield, his first solo outing, he self-accompanies with a looper and dips into a grab bag of subtle, expressive effects. He revisits originals from earlier in his career, such as “Honest I Do” (from Grace Under Pressure), “Mrs. Scofield’s Waltz” (from Works for Me), and “Since You Asked” (from Time on My Hands), and ventures a couple of new pieces as well (“Elder Dance,” “Trance De Jour”). The covers skip across genres, from the workhorse jazz standards “It Could Happen to You,” “My Old Flame,” and “There Will Never Be Another You” to Keith Jarrett’s beautiful ballad “Coral,” the traditional hymn “Danny Boy,” the New Orleans groover “Junco Partner,” and the evergreen “Not Fade Away” and “You Win Again” (by Buddy Holly and Hank Williams, respectively). In a concise and offhanded way, Scofield sums up his career in the liner notes, recalling playing encounters with Dr. John, Phil Lesh, Charlie Haden, Brad Mehldau, and more. His early-’80s stint with Miles Davis does not come up, but there are echoes of it in Scofield’s limber rhythmic feel and sonic playfulness.

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