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Sunday, February 01, 2009


I've fairly worshiped John Scofield since high school. I won't say he's categorically my favorite jazz guitarist, but he's probably in the top three of those still breathing. A few of his records, Bar Talk, Rough House, East to Wes, etc., that have not been reissued on CD are among my top reasons to continue owning and operating a turntable.

For you younguns, a turntable is like a CD player from the Flintstones.

Anyway, I pestered a friend for a comp ticket, and he did me one better, giving me his own ticket since he's fighting a sinus infection. The difference is between sitting upstairs in the cheap seats and sitting in the fifth row.

I got there early for the pre-concert 'talk,' and I was all amped about it but then it was kind of painful to witness. Not that Sco was short for words as Doug Tatum, the excellent executive director of the Folly Theater, quizzed him. These were questions Sco had obviously answered hundreds of times before. Some of his answers were entertaining, anecdotes about Miles, Gerry Mulligan, Billy Cobham, etc. But I got the sense that if he was that good at talking about shit, he'd have been a writer or a public speaker instead of a guitarist.

How was the concert? Spectacular. Beyond spectacular, really. It's a trio, Bill Stewart on drums, wunderkind Matt Penman on bass, great stuff. My mate in the next seat (who go the other obscenely good free ticket) was hoping for Steve Swallow, and who can blame him, but this is one solid trio.

I confess I've fallen behind on Sco's work and am not familiar with the trio CD this show was pimping. In fact, the second track I tried to place from those old vinyl albums. What album is that from? I was thinking. The one I haven't heard, it turns out. I guess there's some musical DNA in common between them because the records are three decades apart. And Sco's post-Miles playing/composing normally seems so far removed from those old albums.

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