John Scofield: ‘I am interested but I'm not an electronic music expert’

Samedi 18 Octobre 2014

Interview. Contemporary guitar jazz master John Scofield will play at the New Morning in Paris on 29 October 2014 with the John Scofield Trio and on 12 November 2014 with Medeski, Scofield, Martin & Wood. He has been kind enough to answer to my questions.

There is a great deal of blues, soul and funk in your jazz. Do you think that all these musical styles are part of the same musical universe?

Absolutely. Those styles you mention all stem from the same source - all branches from the same tree.

You play guitar in a highly precise and melodic way as if you were singing words with your guitar. Were you inspired by singers when you play guitar?

Yes I was inspired by singers but also by the saxophone. I think a lot of us in jazz have really worked to play a lot of notes very quickly. This is only is one part of music. When you think of melody, then you can't avoid sounding like a singer and the guitar can be very expressive.

Contrary to many of your contemporaries, you did not play as a session musicians for pop/rock artists in the 70's and 80's. Why?

Nobody called!

Your last album is entitled Überjam Deux. Did you have the desire to continue the Überjam experience?

I think we've got a great band. We enjoy the collective experience musically and personally. I am currently writing new music for the group so yes, we continue on.

Überjam Deux contains a great deal of dancing tracks and it explores electronic rhythms. Are you interested by electronic music?

I am interested but I'm not an electronic music expert. Avi Bortnick does all the programming for the band. I like some current dance grooves when they're funky! But I'm a pretty bad dancer.

You are going to play twice at the New Morning in Paris: in October with the John Scofield Trio and in November with Medeski, Martin & Wood. What will be the differences between the two concerts?

The trio plays original music but also standards and some material that has a definite "swing" feel in the traditional sense although it's a bit different with our electric bass master, Steve Swallow. In MSMW we have chosen not to play those traditional standards, etc. and play funk, reggae, Afro Cuban, and quite a bit of free improv.

The instrumentation is different too. MSMW has keyboards while my trio has only guitar bass and drums. These concerts will be markedly different from each other.

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Boris Plantier