John Scofield updates his early-'90s quartet with drummer Bill Stewart, saxophonist Joe Lovano and bassist Larry Grenadier for his impulse! Debut, Past Present. For an artist equally adept at jazz fusion, funk, blues, soul and rock getting to the root of jazz means channeling the blues. Scofield describes "Past Present" as "futuristic blues": he and Lovano craft unison melodies before separating then intertwining invigorating improvs.
Guardian review by John Fordham 4 Stars:
With his debut for the historic Impulse! label, John Scofield – a jazz guitarist long inclined to balance the music’s earthy qualities with its melodically knotty ones – has reconvened the early 90s lineup he led with saxophonist Joe Lovano and drummer Bill Stewart, and added bassist Larry Grenadier. Scofield recently lost a son to cancer, and the experience focused his sense of how vividly the past survives in the present – hence the title, and a predilection for the blues, country music and soul-jazz he loved in his own youth.
The smoky soul theme, BB King-like figures and rugged chord vamp of Slinky are classic Scofield; Lovano is imperiously wayward on the hoedown Chap Dance; Stewart and Grenadier counter Museum’s traddy bounce with postbop’s circumlocutions; and Get Proud has a soulfully Ray Charlesian drive. Scofield sounds warmer and more comfortable in his skin than he has for some years, but this set’s mellowness is constantly being creatively hounded by a quartet of superb improvisers.
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