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John Scofield: 'Combo 66'

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Monday January 07, 2019

From Relix

John Scofield: Combo 66
By: Jeff Tamarkin

That guitarplaying remains some of the most reliably fluid and tasteful in jazz. Scofield prefers clean lines, a marked swing (even notably present in the ballads) to push his melodies ahead and an uncluttered accompaniment that allows his leads to stand out without entirely dominating the proceedings. It’s a formula that has made Scofield one of the most popular artists in contemporary jazz— he took home Grammys in 2015 ( Past Present ) and 2016 ( Country for Old Men ) without sacrificing any artistic integrity to attain those wins, not that he ever has in his 40-plus-year career.

[…] On corkers like “Icons at the Fair” and “Dang Swing,” Scofield comes out blazing, but the cooler tempos of “Willa Jean” and “I’m Sleeping In” offer him just as much opportunity to explore the new compositions thoroughly—in any given situation, Scofield and his collaborators are locked in tight. Although they are keen to take care, they never fail to remember that these are songs they are playing, not mere exhibitions of technique.

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