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Stripped-down Scofield Due in May

John Scofield’s last few album projects have featured long rosters, from the all-star effort 2001 Works for Me to last year’s stretched-out fusion romp Up All Night. And they’ve also been heavy on the funk. But Scofield leaves the extended personnel and the funk behind on his forthcoming EnRoute, due May 11 via Verve, which brings the guitarists back to the trio format with old friends bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Bill Stewart in support.

EnRoute was recorded live at New York’s Blue Note in December of last year, when the city was cold, cold, cold. EnRoute features nine songs, most of them new Scofield compositions. The three non-Scofield songs include Swallow’s “Name That Tune” (from his 1997 album Deconstructed), Denzil Best’s bebop standard “Wee” and “Alfie,” by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. Regaridng the inclusion of the “Alfie,” Scofield says: “It’s one of my favorite songs, especially Dionne Warwick’s recording. It’s really not so easy to improvise on, because the form is very long. It takes a special treatment; that’s probably why not so many jazz artists have played it.” Sure, it’s either that or the fact that most jazz artists-most people-won’t admit to digging on Dionne Warwick. But I like Dionne, too. So here’s to solidarity, Johnny, you’ve done the song good.

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