Music Reviews

John Scofield

Uncle John’s Band

John Scofield Uncle John’s Band review


Formats available: Download, Vinyl, CD

John Scofield looms large in the nation of jazzland, he is a legend who has become a sort of an institution. He has one of the most distinct sound signatures, much like Wes Montgomery and George Benson, you need only a moment or two of his playing to identify him.

The number of the albums he has released, featured on and collaborated with is rumoured to be greater than that of the stars in the Milky Way. A quick scan of Scofield’s biography shows his name coming to prominence in the 1980 when collaborating with the Miles Davis band, he has since played with many artists from the well known (Medeski, Martin & Wood) to the talented but not so well known (The Dirty Pockets).

Scofield has a depth and breadth rarely found in by other jazz notables, he can play almost anything from jazz-funk to folk, to spirituals to blues and rock and back to straight jazz, and has been sharing his melodious unique distinguished sound for decades.

The title of Uncle John’s Band refers to a Grateful Dead track by that name that was originally released in 1970 (and still worth listening to). Scofield has long been welcomed as a distinguished guest on the jam band scene and, has been a contributor to Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh’s various groups over the past 20 years in many live sessions.

On this album Scofield is accompanied by Vicente Archer (double bass) and Bill Stewart (drums), two great players at their top of their games who help to create an engrossing musical synergy which is rarely heard. It’s Scofield’s first double album, and this applies to both CD and vinyl. Either way, the recording is almost as great as the music and places the listener in a very large studio, seated next to the master guitarist with his companions situated far behind him.

The 14 tracks include renditions of some famous tracks by Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Leonard Bernstein as well as the aforementioned Grateful Dead, interspersed between ten other funky, jazzy, bluesy original tracks. It’s an intoxicating musical adventure to start your musical journey in 2024.

Stand out tracks: TV Band, Mask

Reuben Klein

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