There is no mystery behind why this new John Scofield record is a sure thing. For one, Scofield has successfully weaved in and out of the most extreme variations of jazz, from acoustic, groove/funk, and straight-ahead, all while maintaining his signature style and wowing fans and followers alike. Second and third; an all-star cast and raw energy that is guaranteed among improvisational players of this caliber.
Scofield’s self-proclaimed dream band is comprised of Billy Higgins, who has, like Scofield, brought together elements of classic and contemporary without a hitch, and who is an undisputed legend dating back to the swing era. Christian McBride, Brad Mehldau and Kenny Garrett all share the honor of being at the forefront of today’s most innovative new musicians, and have all successfully done so through their own unique voices.
The thing that you hear so clearly on this record is the raw energy that comes with spontaneity and brilliant improvisation; After all, the group went through a single rehearsal previous to the actual recording session. Hearing Higgins shout to McBride "Just play and I’ll catch you" on the intro to the first tune ("I’ll Catch You") is classic and sets the tone for the record. "Not You Again" is based on the classic changes of the standard "There Will Never Another You", and is a great example of how Scofield utilizes a classic idiom with a new attitude, and the result is terrific interplay between all the players.
While I think each track is unique and exceptional in its own way, some of my favorites (which seem to incorporate the best mix of classic Scoisms ) are "Loose Cannon" and "Hive", "Do I Crazy?".
The bottom line is, this record combines the best of both worlds, and whether it’s straight-ahead or crooked, you’re guaranteed that trademark edginess and grooveability that Scofield couldn’t lose if he tried; and we would never want him to.