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John Scofield: Past Present review – warm revival for jazz guitarist's 90s band

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Tuesday September 29, 2015

From The Guardian

John Scofield: Past Present review – warm revival for jazz guitarist’s 90s band
By: John Fordham

With his debut for the historic Impulse! label, John Scofield – a jazz guitarist long inclined to balance the music’s earthy qualities with its melodically knotty ones – has reconvened the early 90s lineup he led with saxophonist Joe Lovano and drummer Bill Stewart, and added bassist Larry Grenadier. Scofield recently lost a son to cancer, and the experience focused his sense of how vividly the past survives in the present – hence the title, and a predilection for the blues, country music and soul-jazz he loved in his own youth. The smoky soul theme, BB King-like figures and rugged chord vamp of Slinky are classic Scofield; Lovano is imperiously wayward on the hoedown Chap Dance; Stewart and Grenadier counter Museum’s traddy bounce with postbop’s circumlocutions; and Get Proud has a soulfully Ray Charlesian drive. Scofield sounds warmer and more comfortable in his skin than he has for some years, but this set’s mellowness is constantly being creatively hounded by a quartet of superb improvisers.

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