With over 40 albums under his belt (not including the ones he contributed to as a sideman), John Scofield has built one of the most diverse discographies in the history of jazz over the course of nearly five decades. Having collaborated with some of the world’s top players in genres ranging from jazz to funk to psychedelic rock, the prolific guitarist has made music for every mood, resulting in an eclectic catalogue that has a little something for everyone to enjoy, and a lot for diehard fans to appreciate. With his newest release, tellingly entitled John Scofield, Sco offers fans something new—an intimate self portrait of one man, his guitar, and a looper.
The self titled solo album features 13 tracks, including five original compositions, traditionals “Junco Partner” and “Danny Boy”, covers of Buddy Holly‘s “Not Fade Away” and Hank Williams‘ “You Win Again”, and more. Apropos of the title, Scofield expresses his personality and mastery like never before, though it is actually the second release to bear his name. His 1977 self titled debut, which was recorded in Tokyo, was subsequently rereleased under the title East Meets West in 1987.
In a social media post, John Scofield called the solo album “How I spent the pandemic. Home with Susan and Gunnar,” referring to his wife and dog, who posted a humorous album announcement before the release.
“I am his dog Gunnar,” the announcement read. “I do not know who that animal is on the cover of the record but I don’t think he’s even met John before. ECM even tried to shut me up with dog bones! John is mine and that’s all I have to say.”
Most of John Scofield’s new solo album is mellow and sweet. It is the perfect music to put on in the background, but it contains subtle complexity worthy of a deep listen. And of course it wouldn’t be a John Scofield record without some far-out musical explorations.
“Not Fade Away” features a spacey improvisation against a reversed loop, creating a psychedelic effect that recurs throughout the album. “Trance De Jour” likewise disrupts the album’s mellow tone with some dissonant jazz chords and atonal wandering.
As the name suggests, John Scofield offers listeners a characterizing portrayal of a true master at work. Fans of Scofield’s distinctive style and unique harmonic sensibility will enjoy the opportunity to hear his playing stripped down to its bare essence as he winds through never before heard original compositions and interprets classics as only he can.
John Scofield, the new solo album from guitarist John Scofield, is available now on all streaming platforms. For more information and to purchase tickets to upcoming John Scofield performances, visit his website.