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RECAP / PHOTOS: John Scofield’s Uberjam Band and Dave Holland’s Prism

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Monday October 14, 2013

From Live Music Blog

RECAP / PHOTOS: John Scofield’s Uberjam Band and Dave Holland’s Prism Quartet @ Royce Hall, LA, CA 10/5/13
By Jim Brock

The 6th annual Angel City Jazz Festival is as unique as the city that bears its name. Multi-venue, multi-media and highly eclectic, predictable only for its unpredictablilty. Not necessarily qualities you would attach to this tentpole town. This year mixed film with music, integrating episodes of the “Jazz in the Present Tense” project with live performances under the theme of “Metamorphosis; Artists on the Cutting Edge of Change”.

John Scofield’s Uberjam Band and Dave Holland’s Prism Quartet are a mighty pairing that land in the event’s sweet spot. While some could suggest the Royce Hall double bill was more in than out, given Angel City’s edgy proclamation, they fall right in between in my book. Both are established and prolific players/composers bonded by different stints with Miles Davis. Holland’s years included In a Silent Way and the transformatively noisy Bitches Brew, while Scofield came later during the early to mid-‘80s. Davis’ electrified shift in many ways was the jazz equivalent to Dylan’s groundbreaking Newport Folk appearance in 1965 – the landscape was never the same. In Davis’ case, jazz fusion was spawned and the illustrious alum have shaped contemporary jazz ever since, with both Holland and Scofield square in the middle of it.

In recent years, Scofield could be found absorbing New Orleans influences with his Piety Street Band, getting all jammy with Phil (Lesh) & Friends, or engaging the free funk of frequent collaborations with John Medeski and company. No doubt Scofield is a rocker and wears it well, yet recordings such as I Can See My House From Here (a personal favorite) with Pat Metheny (Blue Note 1994), also display a gentler side. His current project, Uberjam Deux, is a quartet revisited a decade later with Scofield on guitar, Andy Hess on bass, rhythm guitarist Avi Bortnick, and drummer Tony Mason, and had me at the name the first time. This is a band that both digs and flies. Scofield’s hollow-body fuzz, the rhythm section of Mason and Hess at full gallop or reggae step, sprinkled with Bortnick’s unique Strat meets Mac approach.

To read the full review click here