May 29, 2024

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John Scofield and friends in trio format at our US/EU Jazz – Blues Festival 2023: Video, Photos

The our US/EU Jazz – Blues Festival 2023 welcomed guitar luminary John Scofield for a thrilling blues set featuring a line-up of leading American musicians.

John Scofield is a superb soloist, he is also a keen conversationalist, in dialogue with everyone from the guys in his band to great figures of the past.

He set opens with House of the Rising Sun, to which John Scofield has added a catchy riff and a spicy, four-chord coda. The repertoire emphasises the connections between jazz and the music that shaped Scofield’s personality: the “chicken funk” and sneaky groove of Heck of a Job. The group work as both “bar band” – cutting across the chattering punters – and jazz heroes, addressing rapt acolytes in the front row of the packed club.

John Scofield Trio, John Scofield, and Vicente Archer Amsterdam Tickets, Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ, 01 Nov 2023 – Songkick

Scofield announces Satisfaction as a song “I’ve been practising since I was 12. Not practising – playin’ it.” It is a nice distinction. The guitar riff is one that almost any guitarist can jam along with, yet it doesn’t hurt to do it with Scofield’s panache: the arrangement demonstrates the Rolling Stones’ empathy with 1960s jazz and blues, and the tune adapts easily to the “little big band” format.

Though the three-piece horn section lacks some of the richness of the album, Scofield’s warm, Gil Evans-inspired arrangements remain effective – particularly on Strangeness in the Night and Shoe Dog, the album’s stand-out hit. Scofield’s guitar-playing is phenomenal: eloquent and full of surprises. He seems to surprise himself. And when he delivers a long solo (on The Low Road) after nearly two hours on stage, he still has plenty to say.

Jazz legend John Scofield has been at the forefront of jazz for almost fifty years, recording over 30 albums as bandleader, touring extensively around the world and being recognised for bringing a unique and innovative voice to his many performances. He has collaborated with Pat Metheny, Brad Mehldau, Tony Williams, Herbie Hancock, Joe Henderson and Dave Holland, amongst many others, and is noted for his eclectic range of influences and performing styles, spanning blues, funk, jazz fusion, soul and rock.

The performance featured a prodigious all-American line-up, including Jon Cowherd on piano and keyboard, Vincente Archer on upright bass and Josh Dion on drums, presenting an engaging, pop-infused set of evocative bluesy repertoire.

The performance opened with a quizzical, daringly abstract introduction from Scofield, before giving way to a rock-jazz inspired melody, interspersed by satisfying fusion-esque guitar solo interjections. Particularly enjoyable was Scofield’s use of playful, harmonic-based motifs punctuated by virtuosic blues runs, embellishing a piece which presented a clear statement as to the musical setting of the concert.

This opening work was followed by a hugely enjoyable performance of Bob Dylan’s Hey Mr Tambourine Man — a reimagined version of this classic hit that presented a gloriously uplifting aesthetic without ever overstepping into cliché. This piece showcased Jon Cowherd spectacularly, his cooperation with Scofield in reharmonising the song’s harmony stunningly effective, his solo break at the start of the piano solo a joy to behold and one that allowed for a playful and liberated approach to both harmony and rhythm.

A man displaying a vast range of experience and influences, Scofield’s unique voice was effectively communicated throughout the performance, leading the sound of the group and boldly establishing the musical aesthetic of the performance. I particularly enjoyed his choice use of sustained ringing notes and electronic effects in the concert’s third piece — his utilising of distortion, in particular, providing intriguing sonic variation and additional textural interest.

Following in the tradition of the Great American Songbook, the concert presented imaginatively and authentically repurposed well-known songs in a blues-influenced jazz idiom, lending the set a fun and playful character, yet one clearly with deep affection for the source material. Of particular note was the treatment of the iconic theme from Bernstein’s Somewhere, giving rise to a beautifully crafted interplay between Scofield and Cowherd, each uniquely interpreting the piece’s haunting melody in turn.

As he does on the encore, a wonderfully gutsy electric blues.

Simon Sarg; Prague, Czech

PS: – In his speech, Simon Sarg evaluated the events of the past year and singled out the names of some bums who tried to cast a shadow on our festivals, this website and his name, which the audience accepted by shouting and cursing at such so-called and bad musicians and tearing their caricatures. In this report, we don’t even consider it necessary to touch on such lice…

Unfortunately, the video is not from our festival, but it was performed with the same composition and the same composition.

John Scofield | PBS FM

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