Title - 'Combo 66'
Artist - John Schofield
For those not in the know, John Scofield, often referred to as "Sco", is an American jazz-rock guitarist and composer whose playing spans bebop, jazz fusion, funk, blues, soul, and rock.
Over the successful decades that he has performed and made music, he has played and collaborated with Miles Davis, Dave Liebman, Joe Henderson, Charles Mingus, Joey DeFrancesco, Herbie Hancock, Eddie Palmieri, Pat Metheny, Bill Frisell, Joe Lovano, Pat Martino, Mavis Staples, Phil Lesh, Billy Cobham, Medeski Martin & Wood, George Duke, Jaco Pastorius, John Mayer, Robert Glasper, and Gov't Mule, to name but a few.
Luckily for us fans, Grammy-winning guitarist John Scofield has just released this past September 28th, 2018 a brand new album. Entitled Combo 66, and brought to us via Verve Records, it should also be known that on that very same day the jazz veteran celebrates his 66th birthday.
1. 'Can’t Dance'
2. 'Combo Theme'
3. 'Icons at the Fair'
4. 'Willa Jean'
5. 'Uncle Southern'
6. 'Dang Swing'
7. 'New Waltzo'
8. 'I’m Sleeping In'
9. 'King of Belgium'
The new record follows up Scofield’s two previous Grammy-winning efforts, 2015’s Past Present and 2016’s Country For Old Men, and features a band comprised of drummer Bill Stewart, bassist Vincente Archer and pianist/organist Gerald Clayton.
“I wrote all new tunes for this record, Combo 66” Scofield says in a press release about the dynamic new album. “I called it that because I’m 66! And 66 is the coolest jazz number you can get because if you hit 66 you’re doing ok."
"Remember all the great records from the 60s? Brasil 66. ‘Route 66.’ It hit me that it would be poetic to use that title.”
Here on Combo 66, Schofield focuses strongly on the melody of each song, accentuating his playing with a noticeable twang, which lends the music the requisite bucolic sensibility.
Personally I love the material. I love the band. I love the sound. Enough said, if it were a simple statement to someone inquiring, sure, but here we like to go a wee bit deeper, of course.
Schofield kicks things off with the beautiful late evening jazz swing of 'I Can’t Dance' and then backs that up sweetly with both the highly melodic cinemascape of 'Combo Theme' and then his admitted nod toward 'Scarborough Fair' with 'Icons at the Fair.'
The conversational gem 'Willa Jean' (which was titled for his granddaughter) is easily one of the most personal on this wonderful album, and that's backed by the mid-tempo hipsway of 'Uncle Southern.' Next up is the countrified swing tune 'Dang Swing' which is followed by some beautiful jazz waltz styling within 'New Waltzo.'
This stunningly brilliant new album then comes to a close with the quietly pensive ballad 'I’m Sleepin’ In' and then, and with most every track on Combo 66, actually titled by Scofield’s wife, Susan, we get the swinging sounds of 'King of Belguim' (dedicated to Belgian harmonica maestro, Toots Thielemans),rounding out the musical proceedings.
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