Guitarist Scofield brings jazz trio to Aspen
Jam-band fan alert: John Scofield will not be appearing in his full-on funk mode tonight at the Belly Up.Ray Charles devotee warning: Scofield will also not be playing the music from his recent CD in tribute to the late Genius, Thats What I Say.Advisory for jazz hounds: Scofield will be performing in his straightahead jazz mode, in a trio with two of his long-running associates, bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Bill Stewart.Scofield, the 53-year-old guitarist from New Yorks Westchester County, has made himself a prominent name in two worlds. As a jazz player, he performed with Gerry Mulligan, Charles Mingus and Miles Davis before starting a solo career in the late 70s. His albums in the 80s and 90s often had plenty of funk and electricity to them. But he made something of a full crossover with 1998s A Go Go, an album with avant-groove trio Medeski, Martin & Wood that brought Sco into the jam realm. He followed with Bump, featuring members of the soul-rock group Deep Banana Blackout, and berjam, with sampled sounds and guest appearances by keyboardist John Medeski and saxophonist Karl Denson. Last year, Scofield jumped the fence again with the release of En Route, a live album recorded with Swallow and Stewart.All that jumping around seems to make little difference to listeners.Its not that cut and dried, said Scofield, a frequent visitor to the Roaring Fork Valley, thanks to the relatives on his wifes side who live in Basalt and Carbondale, but who is making his local debut tonight. I always think the jam-band people wont like this, the jazz show. But I see kids with Medeski, Martin & Wood T-shirts on at these shows and they like it.Most recently, Scofield reached across another divide, to the r & b crowd. Thats What I Say, a magnificent tribute to Ray Charles, was released earlier this month and debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard jazz chart. The album features contributions from artists from all over the map: New Orleans icons Aaron Neville and Dr. John, blues singer Mavis Staples, jam-band hero Warren Haynes and even pop star John Mayer. Scofield intends to play a tour focusing on that material in September.As in the Thats What I Say and A Go Go projects, the trio with Swallow and Stewart seems to have an element of different worlds coming together. Swallow is 64, Stewart is 38, with Scofield smack in between. But their sensibilities are aligned, even though they represent three distinct generations.It doesnt feel like that. Were just closing our eyes and playing, said Scofield, who says he would like to do another album with Medeski, Martin & Wood. We have somewhat different perspectives. But the similarities are bigger, because were all listening to the same records the same new records by 20-year-old jazz kids, the same ancient records. The similarities come from our makeup as people.Here is the rest of JAS After Dark club performance schedule: Belly Up:Friday: John Scofield Trio at 10:30 p.m.Saturday: Robert Walters 20th Congress at 10:30 p.m.Sunday: Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers at 10 p.m.Syzygy:Friday: Jeff Jenkins at 10:30 p.m.Saturday: Nelson Rangell at 11 p.m.LHostaria:Sunday: Nelson Rangell at 10 p.m.Blue Door:Friday: S-Curves at 9:30 p.m.Stewart Oksenhorns e-mail address is email@example.com
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