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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, Ian Lace, Peter Woolf, Colin Clarke


JOHN SCOFIELD

Works For Me
John Scofield - guitar, Kenny Garrett - alto
Brad Mehldau - piano, Christian McBride - bass
Billy Higgins - drums
Recorded January 2000
VERVE 549-281-2
Crotchet
£12.95 Amazon UK £11.99 Amazon US $13.99

1. I'LL Catch You
2. Not You Again
3. Big J
4. Loose Canon
5. Love Long Time
6. Hive
7. Heel To Toe
8. Do I Crazy?
9. Mrs. Scofield's Waltz
10. Six and Eight
11. Freepie

John Scofield describes this CD as a 'real jazz' recording and says it was a 'tremendous pleasure working with these master players.' He ends his comments by stating ' It works for me".

As Scofield intimates this is a dream band assembled for the purpose of making a record. It is argueably as good a group as could be put together from the premier league of contemporary jazz musicians. Any alteration of personnel would be purely a matter of personal preference.

The collective pedigree of the musicians featured here must cover every major artist on the modern jazz scene from Ornette Coleman, to Miles Davis to Joe Lovano and beyond.

Having said all of this I found the disc grew on me after several listenings. It is not a 'hit them between the eyes' type of record which can often occur on an All Star date.

The overall feeling is much more subtle and cerebral - not to say that there are no moments of great excitement or tension. I think this gives the disc a far more satisfying and lasting quality. There is obviously great mutual respect and admiration amongst the participants.

The rhythm section is superb. Billy Higgins pins the whole together and there are many occasions of note, viz the shifting meters [latin/rock to swing] on the first track. This is all achieved in a seemingly effortless manner; the easy swing on 'Not You Again' [surely a take on a well known standard!] and many other slight pushes of direction throughout the record.

Christian McBride plays in a variety of styles from the funky line on 'Loose Canon' to straight ahead swing.

Brad Mehldau is rapidly becoming one of the music's most absorbing pianists, both as a soloist and as an accompanist - I particularly enjoyed his solo moments on this recording.

Garrett and Scofield form an intriguing frontline. Their tight unison and harmony work on 'Big J' are most impressive but the ensemble passage that stands out for me is on 'Loose Canon' - Garrett plays a section using multiphonics and is joined by Scofield playing harmonics which creates a very unusual and interesting effect.

Kenny Garrett has developed into a rounded player - he could always 'burn' as can be heard on some of the Bebop and outside passages on this disc but he is also able to play very controlled logical solos as heard on 'Love You Longtime'

John Scofield remains one of the finest contemporary guitarists with his wonderful angular lines and almost vocalised tone. All of the compositions here are his, apart from 'Freepie' which is a group effort.

Dick Stafford

Dick Stafford is a professional reed player and teacher living in Coventry


 



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