John Scofield Goes Country

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Wednesday October 05, 2016

From Paste

Notes From New York: John Scofield, Kurt Rosenwinkel and More
By: Bill Milkowski

Perennial poll-winning guitarist John Scofield came up playing with jazz legends like Stan Getz and Chet Baker, Billy Cobham and Miles Davis before launching his own remarkable solo career in the mid-‘80s. Over the decades, while recording for the Enja, Gramavision, Blue Note, Verve and EmArcy labels, the Connecticut-born six-stringer has shown an infinite capacity to swing while also demonstrating an authentic feel for funk, blues and New Orleans second line grooves. His recent collaborations with jam band pioneers Medeski, Martin & Wood, Phil Lesh & Friends and Warren Haynes’ Gov’t Mule have also revealed his penchant for reaching out to new audiences and exploring new musical avenues. On his latest Impulse! recording, Country for Old Men (the title is a wry reference to the Coen Brothers’ 2007 movie No Country for Old Men), the guitar great applies his signature chops to faithful readings of the George Jones classic ‘Bartender’s Blues’ along with Merle Haggard’s ‘Mama Tried’ and Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene.’ Elsewhere on this surprising release, Scofield and cohorts (bassist Steve Swallow, keyboardist Larry Goldings, drummer Bill Stewart) take liberties with some country classics, like their unabashedly swinging renditions of Hank Williams’ ‘I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry’ and the Carter Family staple ‘Wildwood Flower.’

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