Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

John Scofield: Country for Old Men

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.
Western swing: John Scofield

John Scofield’s latest project, a set of C&W standards, is full of surprises even if its concept might seem overdue for the guitarist, whose abiding love of American roots music is no secret. Rather than bend toward the idiom he’s exploring, as he did on the fruitful gospel exercise Piety Street, from 2009, here Scofield often pulls his chosen country classics into small-group postbop.

The results can impress and perplex at once. Why, for instance, forgo the sterling ballad temperament of “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” in favor of furious swing and harmonically head-scratching improvisation? Well, why not? It works, based mostly on the strength of Scofield’s nonpareil band: Larry Goldings, on Larry Young-indebted organ for this cut but also on piano elsewhere; bass guitarist Steve Swallow, his solos throughout a study in lithe storytelling; and drummer Bill Stewart, proving yet again that subtle dynamics don’t have to sacrifice intensity.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published