It's not easy for a player to be successful in both jazz and rock. John Scofield has managed to accomplish that feat in his legendary career. Sco, as he is known by his friends, will set up camp for two nights at the Jazz Kitchen on Tuesday, Oct. 17 and Wednesday, Oct. 18. He is currently on a national tour in support of his highly acclaimed tribute CD, John Scofield Plays the Music of Ray Charles. I caught up with Scofield on tour in Boston for this candid interview on how he has seen the changes in the world of jazz over the past three decades.
Nationally acclaimed jazz guitarist John Scofield's quartet plays Oct. 17-18 at the Jazz Kitchen.
NUVO: In your travels here and overseas, do you think fans really listen to what you are musically doing on stage or do they want to be entertained?
Scofield: It's really glaring to me that so many people don't know what you are doing up there. The audience is there but I don't think there are that many real serious music listeners there. Maybe people at this point just need to be educated in that direction just a little bit more.
NUVO: As a guitar player, do you think the guitar's rock image has become a significant influence on the way jazz guitarist are performing today?
Scofield: I think that the guitar is a bluesy instrument and that music has always been created on the guitar. It's the music that rock 'n' roll came from and was a part of jazz. Most of us guitar players have an affinity for that music. I actually enjoy playing some selected set of pieces that could be called rock pieces and I really dig it. There is nothing worse than hearing a jazz musician play a pop tune because they are selling out just wanting to make some bread. On guitar I sort of came up playing bluesy anyway so it works for me.
NUVO: Why did you decide to record the tribute to Ray Charles?
Scofield: The reason I did the Ray Charles thing was because he was not a guitar player. That's one of the reasons why it works for me to do a tribute to Ray because I never thought, "Well. I am copying him." If I did a tribute to B.B. King, I have already copied him enough ... I have been a B.B. copier all my life; he wrote the book on blues guitar.
Scofield's supporting players will consist of Meyer Statham, vocals and trombone, John Benitez, bass, Gary Versace-Hammond, B-3 and Wurlitzer, and Steve Hass, drums. Shows each night are at 7 and 9 p.m. The 7 p.m. show tickets in advance each day are $25 and $27 the day of show. The 9 p.m. show tickets each day in advance are $20 and $22 day of show.
Benefit relief concert for New Orleans musicians
IUPUI's professor of jazz studies and noted jazz drummer Jack Gilfoy, in conjunction with the American Federation of Musicians Local 3, will stage a concert with all of the proceeds to directly benefit New Orleans musicians on Monday, Oct. 17 at IUPUI's IT Building in the Recital Hall at West and Michigan streets. The concert is scheduled to run from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Original New Orleans brass band music will be performed by a host of local musicians, some who have played the clubs and streets of New Orleans. The band's lineup is Steve Robinette. trumpet, Dan Hughey, trombone, Marty Hodapp, tuba, Bill James, clarinet, Luke Gillespie, piano, Robin Hopkins, banjo, Steve Dokken, bass, Jack Gilfoy, drums, and Katherine Miller, vocals.
* Artsgarden, Illinois and Washington streets. Free concerts will present The Jo Manship Combo blues, jazz and swing, Thursday, Oct. 13 from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. Ipanema will feature Brazilian Bossa Nova Saturday, Oct. 15, 1 to 2 p.m.
* Fountain Square Theatre, 1105 Prospect St. Oct. 14, Friday Night Swing Dance will feature The Big Swing Band playing 8:30 to 11:30 p.m.
* Jazz Kitchen, 54th Street and College. Monday, New York bassist Buster William's Quartet featuring Lenny White, drums, and Stefon Harris, vibes, with shows at 7 and 9 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, guitar great John Scofield Quartet plays "The Music of Ray Charles," with shows at 7 and 9 p.m.
CD pick of the week
The cover of Paris Blue was startling, like looking at a hard-glinting Dirty Harry closeup with a bass, but its Clint's son Kyle who is an above-average bassist and composer. Kyle Eastwood wrote seven of the nine tunes here. This is very good contemporary jazz. Kyle surrounds himself in various musical settings of strong players with some updated swing thrown in on "Big Noise" that features Kyle's bass. It's a gas to hear Clint whistling the tune's melody over his son's swing time.
Rating: 4 Stars
Like father like son: both avid jazz lovers.