Stories » Combo 66 is core John Scofield / popMATTERS

Top 10 for Dec

Combo 66 is core John Scofield / popMATTERS

Bookmark and Share

It's hard to say whether guitarist John Scofield's age (he just turned 66) seems wrong because surely he's older or surely he's younger. On the one hand, he was playing with the likes of Gerry Mulligan and early fusion player in the 1970s, so he must be older. On the other hand, he's one of the few real "jazz" musicians that music fans in their 20s might know from seeing him at outdoor festivals and in rock palaces like DC's 930 Club. The music, certainly the meat and potatoes stuff on his new Combo 66, is timely though. So, age be damned.

This set is core Scofield in every way. He plays here with longtime collaborator, Bill Stewart, on drums. The bassist is Vicente Archer, a generation younger but from Woodstock, New York, which is Scofield's neighborhood these days. Archer is a member of Robert Glasper's acoustic trio and has a long history with trumpeter Nicholas Payton and alto saxophone master Donald Harrison. The pianist and organist in the band is Gerald Clayton, almost half Sco's age and part of the new jazz contingent, playing with Ambrose Akinmusire and Gretchen Parlato, as well as having strong mainstream chops. The band, new and old, seems to pull from all the right places and falls together like a group of old friends. The music is comfortable like your oldest, happiest pair of khaki pants, but it's also hip as all get-out, like those khakis Miles Davis wore when he was recording in the late 1950s.

READ THE FULL popMATTERS REVIEW