Monday June 29, 2015
From Montreal Gazette
By Peter Hakekel
Jazz fest: John Scofield and Joe Lovano have a special connection
The generation of jazz musicians that came along in the 1970s was particularly rich in guitarists. Think of Pat Metheny, John Abercrombie, Bill Frisell and John Scofield – all players with a unique sound and approach to improvisation.
Scofield, who performs at the jazz fest Monday in a quartet with Joe Lovano on saxophones, Larry Grenadier on bass and Bill Stewart on drums, has made his own statement with a style that marries jazz, funk and R & B.
It emerged organically after he studied at Boston’s Berklee College of Music and then went on to play with jazz greats like Gerry Mulligan, Chet Baker, Billy Cobham, Charles Mingus, Gary Burton and Miles Davis.
He can trade bebop licks with the best of them but he’s also got a down-and-dirty sound that’s grounded in the groove. It’s only augmented by the presence of Lovano, Grenadier and Stewart.
“They’re probably my favourite guys in the world and I love playing with them,” he said by phone recently. “It’s a great joy.”
The Scofield-Lovano collaboration got off the ground in the 1990s with great releases like What We Do (Blue Note). They’ve played on and off over the years but seem to be making a renewed commitment with a new quartet recording, Past Present, coming out on Impulse in October and plans to tour both this year and next.
There’s a special connection between the two, with Lovano’s gruff tenor sound weaving around Scofield’s snaky guitar lines. “With Joe, we have this sound together,” Scofield acknowledges. “It was never anything we worked on, we just do it. I think it just comes from being sympathetic to each other and liking the same stuff.
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