A bona fide guitar hero and masterful improviser, John Scofield has covered a wide spectrum of musical styles with rare authority over the last four decades of his celebrated career. From funk and fusion to swinging jazz standards, rock- fueled jams, lush orchestral collaborations, earthy blues and old-time gospel music, Scofield has imbued each style with his distinctive six-string voice, earning accolades for his triumphs along the way.
On A Moment’s Peace, his followup to 2009’s gospel-drenched Piety Street, Scofield and his all-star crew of pianist/organist Larry Goldings (James Taylor, Norah Jones, Walter Becker), bassist Scott Colley (Jim Hall, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny) and drummer Brian Blade (Wayne Shorter, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan) luxuriate in ballads associated with such legendary interpreters of song as Billie Holiday, Abbey Lincoln, Nina Simone and John Coltrane. Included in the collection, Scofield’s third outing on EmArcy, are five new originals by the guitar great, along with soulful interpretations of the lyrical Lennon-McCartney number “I Will” and Carla Bley’s serene “Lawns.” “It’s an album of slow, gentle music,” says the perennial poll-winning guitarist.
“But at the same time, we didn’t want it to be easy listening. We tried to really play on all the tunes. For me, no matter what kind of music, it’s really important that it be fresh and that we’re really playing something. The creativity, when accompanying or soloing, has to be there.” From sublime renderings of “I Want to Talk About You” and “You Don’t Know What Love Is” to “Gee Baby Ain’t I Good to You” and “I Loves You Porgy,” Scofield fills each of these timeless gems with an uncommonly expressive approach to his instrument while stretching out in the tradition of the great melodic improvisers.
And his highly interactive rhythm section, marked by Colley’s formidable presence on bass, Goldings’ thoughtful orchestrations on both piano and organ and Blade’s sensitive, intuitive touch on the kit, helps make all of these tunes come alive in the moment. Scofield has high praise for his valued sidemen on A Moment’s Peace. “Some guys are interactive in kind of a bulldozer way,” he says. “But Scott, Larry and Brian are all able to be supportive of the music while making their personal contributions. There’s a kind of a magic in that.”
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