When guitarist Bill Frisell first began a more decided focus on roots music, bluegrass and country & western music with the release of 1996's Nashville (Nonesuch), despite being largely very well-received, jazz purists rankled when the largely bluegrass/folk-informed album began to garner awards like Downbeat Magazine's Best Jazz Album of the Year. While Frisell's oftentimes Americana-tinged work has, in the ensuing years, become more fully accepted for the wonderful music that it is, fellow six-stringer John Scofield is unlikely to find himself the subject of such purist criticism with Country for Old Men.
John is an internationally respected musician known for his fluid guitar playing and inventive improvisation. This video covers such topics as the use of seventeen major modes and scales, chromatics, passing tones and various approaches to improvisation.
Guitarist John Scofield's debut as a leader was originally cut for the Japanese Trio label. Scofield's sound was already pretty recognizable this early in his career, although his playing was more funk-oriented than it would become. Scofield is teamed with bassist Clint Houston, drummer Motohiko Hino and (on two of the six selections) trumpeter Terumasa Hino. "Amy" is taken as an unaccompanied guitar solo, which gives the date a bit more variety. The music still sounds pretty strong over two decades later, although for John Scofield, there would be many more steps forward in his future development.
John Scofield is documented in his pre-Miles Davis period on Shinola, a 1981 date with Steve Swallow (electric bass) and Adam Nussbaum (drums). The guitarist's distinctive style is highly developed even at this stage in his career, combining elements of rock and rhythm 'n' blues with post-bop leanings and an uncanny, 'left-handed' lyricism, all colored with a lightly distorted, subtly phase-shifted tone, his legato lines embellished with bent notes, picked octaves and sweet 'n' sour cluster chords.
Guitarist John Scofield's final in a long series of releases for Gramavision finds him looking ahead toward his future directions. His sidemen - organist Don Grolnick, acoustic bassist Anthony Cox, and either Johnny Vidacovich or Terri Lyne Carrington on drums join him for standards including "Secret Love" and "All the Things You Are," some New Orleans R&B grooves (most notably on "Rockin' Pneumonia"), and a variety of Scofield's originals. The funk element heard on most of his earlier recordings is downgraded in favor of swinging in spots, and despite his trademark distorted tone, Scofield plays some solos that are almost boppish.