John Scofield: What the Electric Guitar Can Do

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Wednesday November 07, 2018

From Stereophile

John Scofield: What the Electric Guitar Can Do
By: Ken Micallef

Electric guitarist John Scofield, winner of multiple Grammy Awards, has a knack for staying a step ahead of musical trends. In hundreds of jazz settings, “Sco” and his signature Ibanez AS200 guitar and Fender Reverb amplifier have created a unique style and sound that have earned him a popularity beyond jazz’s usual audience.

His latest, Combo 66 (Verve), keeps the good vibrations flowing. Joined again by drummer Bill Stewart, Scofield brings pianist/organist Gerald Clayton and double bassist Vicente Archer to play his intimate tunes with clarity and pulsing swing. Scofield sounds freer than ever, and Clayton’s large-scale keyboard work enables some of Sco’s finest solos’“in “Willa Jean,” dedicated to his granddaughter, he even imitates what sounds like a crying baby seal.

“I try to play the guitar like that,” Scofield said. “I see it as using what the electric guitar can do. The orthodox jazz-guitar approach doesn’t include some sonic things I do in my music, when I’m bending notes and using volume swells from the electronics of the guitar’“things like choking a note, and stopping it a certain way. For me, it’s coming from the great blues-guitar players. But listen to Indian string music or the oud’“there’s all kinds of things the strings can do.”

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