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John Scofield: A Go Go

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As a follow-up to the most sophisticated and gorgeous sounding record of his career (1996’s Quiet, the guitarist’s first acoustic project distinguished by his lush, Gil-inspired horn arrangements), John Scofield dips back into the grease with rib-eating gusto on A Go Go, his jaunty encounter with Medeski Martin & Wood. Like Jim Hall with Bill Evans and Jimmy Nolen with James Brown, this match was made in heaven. MMW, reigning kings of the neo-groove scene, is the perfect backup band for anyone interested in stretching within a beat-oriented context. They are flexible enough and funky enough to follow the guitarist’s lead. Plus, their organic hookup and syncopated tendencies tweak Sco’s nastiest sensibilities. The result is a groovefest full of glorious bent-note abandon, skronking harmonics and no doubt lots of grimacing by Mr. Scofield.

Of course, John has gone to this funky well before. His more electrified phase with Gramavision included some particularly nasty tracks (the title track to Blue Matter or the Meters’ “Cissy Strut” on Flat Out). He got down on some Blue Note sessions, notably 1993’s Hand Jive with Eddie Harris and 1995’s Groove Elation with funky drummer Idris Muhammad and B-3 organist Larry Goldings. But none of those efforts were as completely realized and thoroughly funky as A Go Go.

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