By Brian Weidy
(from December 2010 at the Blue Note)
Having played with everyone from Miles Davis to Jaco Pastorius, to being in past (and the current) incarnation of Phil Lesh and Friends, John Scofield is a man who wears many musical hats. This week, he has taken up residency at the Blue Note with his current quartet, featuring Michael Eckroth on Piano (and the occasional Organ), Ben Street on Bass, and Greg “Hutch” Hutchinson on Drums.
At the early set on Thursday night, Scofield opened with a soulful take on his original “Ten Taken,” featuring solos by the whole band. Next was a Dizzy Gillespie number entitled “Woody ‘N You” which felt somewhat disjointed as it never really settled into any sort of groove, though it featured a great solo by Street. After some humorous banter and introductions from Scofield, the band leapt into “Still Warm”, off his 1985 album of the same name. While the song begins as a ballad, it quickly reached a frenzied pace as Scofield skillfully connected phrase after phrase as he ascended the fretboard, displaying his incredible talent without showing off.
The final songs were a shift away from the more soulful tunes and featured crunchier distortion, the organ creating an almost Medeski Martin and Wood-type of sound - appropriate as Scofield joined MMW on their latest release, In Case the World Changes Its Mind.
Throughout the course of the 75 minute set, Scofield, despite some technical issues, navigated through soulful ballads and jazz fusion territories with his trademark tone. You can check him and his Quartet at The Blue Note the rest of this week (December 2-4)