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NPR Jazz: For John Scofield, Everything Old Is New Again — Even The Hard Parts | Musique Non Stop

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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

NPR Jazz: For John Scofield, Everything Old Is New Again — Even The Hard Parts


NPR Jazz: For John Scofield, Everything Old Is New Again — Even The Hard Parts

Link to Jazz : NPR

John Scofield's latest album, Past Present, reunites an old quartet for set of tunes steeped in reflection and loss.

John Scofield's latest album, Past Present, reunites an old quartet for set of tunes steeped in reflection and loss.
Philippe Levy/Courtesy of the artist
Jazz guitarist John Scofield has had a pretty remarkable career. Without even finishing music school, he found himself on the Carnegie Hall stage playing with jazz legends Chet Baker and Gerry Mulligan. Then it was on to Miles Davis, his own successful jazz-funk fusion groups, and even greater exposure playing with jam bands. His latest release, Past Present, takes him back to a sound he perfected in the early 1990s — and it's up for two Grammys in 2016.

Scofield didn't come from a particularly musical family, nor was there much music happening in the suburban Connecticut town where he grew up. But he is definitely a product of his place and time: the early 1960s.




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"I think music was actually really important to everybody in that generation," he says. "It just was the only thing: If you weren't a high school football player, you were into music. And it was everything to me."

Before he started playing jazz, he had to find it in the bucolic suburbs. Fortunately there was a record store nearby. "And a woman named Sally who worked there, she was a jazz fan and knew all about it and told me what to get," Scofield recalls. "She said, 'Well, you like guitar. You'll like this guy Jim Hall — he's one of the main guys. You'll like Wes Montgomery.' She made me buy these records."

People, it seems, have always been important guides throughout John Scofield's musical journey. From the older musicians who encouraged him to the younger ones he met at college.

Throughout his musical journey, Scofield has kept finding new guides — from the older musicians who encouraged him when he began playing to the younger ones he met at school. One of the latter was saxophonist Joe Lovano, who became his partner in the 1990s quartet that has reunited for the new album.

"John and I both attended Berklee College of Music in Boston in the early '70s," Lovano says. "[We] have been playing together with this kind of approach of sharing the space all along. Listening and following the sound, you know? That's always been happening in our music."

Another of John Scofield's most important guides has been his wife Susan, who helps deal with the business side of music.

"I am more like his assistant, and I get the grubby things to do: answer the phone, put the stamps on the things and just sort of help glue it all together so he can keep going on," she says. "It's proven to be sustaining for us — a family cottage industry, if you will."

Susan came up with the name of her husband's new album, Past Present, and with titles for many of his tunes. She remembers happening on one name while sitting in a club, watching her husband play.

"There was a woman sitting at the table next to us, talking through his entire set," she says. "And at one point, during a pause in the music, the woman said, 'And now she'sblonde!' And that's where that tune title came from, right from that rude woman. I just liked the phrase. If you really get desperate, you look up things and you get 'Dance Me Home' or other things that have nothing more to do than words that you like, 'cause John is — this is not his forte."

Playing music is. And so is composing...
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http://www.npr.org/2015/12/27/460960071/for-john-scofield-everything-old-is-new-again-even-the-hard-parts