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Up All Night by John Scofield

If Bump was the ride in the new Volkswagen bug and Uberjam was the red carpet, Up All Night is definitely the main event. Sco’s second album with this lineup of fresh-faced powerhouses truly reflects the refined synergy and comfort that has undoubedtly evolved across 2 albums and a lot of time on the road. While some ‘traditionalists’ or old school Sco-heads have shunned the ‘new sound’ of Scofield, the smart ones have realized that this is the sound of the 21st Century, and Sco is perhaps one of the proud and few of his generation and stature who have learned to leverage it through a continuous process of self-discovery and persisent work with a group of young, cutting edge players.

But have no fear, if you want to hear Sco rip it up, you won’t be disappointed. Up All Night is built to last complete with funky grooves, ambient backdrops and electronic weirdness which work together with Sco’s fiery and edgy lines (of which there are plenty on this record) like peas and carrots. Avi Bortnick provides a brick wall of rhythm guitar backup and is the hand behind most of the electronic bells and whistles that grace the album, while drummer Adam Deitch does what he does best: everything. New bassist Andy Hess holds down the bass chair like he’s been there since Day One, and despite the departure of original lineup bassist Jesse Murphy, the rhythm section is locked tight like a safe.

Now to the moment of truth: is it another jam record? Heck no. The compositions on this record are beautifully thought out, and while there is some good-time knob-tweaking, burning and straight-out groovin’, it is all done with the song in mind. While Uberjam was more obviously seeking, Up All Nightis the fruit of well-spent time on the road and the razor sharp synergy that comes with it. If anything, Sco’s further expansion out of the jazz box has resulted in songs that really can hold the attention of the open-minded across any walk of life; ask the endless sea of college kids and twenty-somethings that fill the house night after night at the Sco shows (I’ve been there).

Bottom line, if you’re looking for another sleepy record of standards and re-re-re-renditions from a jazz legend, you’re in the WRONG PLACE. If you want to hear a great recording that is mind-expanding, fun but earnest, and gives you your required Sco "fix" , you’ll be Up All Night with this one.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: John Scofield
  • CD Title: Up All Night
  • Genre: Acid Jazz
  • Year Released: 2003
  • Record Label: Verve Music Group
  • Musicians: John Scofield (guitars); Avi Bortnick (rhythm guitars; drum machines, synths); Andy hess (bass); Adam Deitch (drums)
  • Rating: Five Stars
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