Getting His Kicks with Combo 66

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Friday October 12, 2018

From San Jose Mercury News

Guitarist John Scofield gets his kicks with his new Combo 66
By: Andrew Gilbert

John Scofield decided to celebrate his 66th birthday by doing what he does best. The jazz guitar great launched a new band, bringing together a multigenerational ensemble that combines longtime comrades in funk and newly forged friends. Featured on his recently released Verve/Universal Music album of the same name, Combo 66 is built on Sco’s three-decade relationship with drummer Bill Stewart, a quietly sensational musician who combines fierce intelligence with a pocket so deep that the guitarist’s grooves feel etched in red Mississippi clay. ‘A lot of musicians can’t pull off that combination,’ says Scofield, who performs with Combo 66 at Kuumbwa Jazz Center Oct. 17 and the SFJAZZ Center Oct. 21. ‘For Bill, the heady stuff is not that hard. There’s a certain ease for him that you can feel.’

Stewart recommended the brilliant bassist Vicente Archer, his bandmate in trumpeter Nicolas Payton’s stripped down trio. ‘They’re jazz masters, and they can play funky, a direction that a lot of my stuff goes,’ Scofield says. ‘Vicente’s got that walking thing that’s really important. A lot of bassists don’t realize how much that propulsion means, the subtlety and difficulty of doing it well.’

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