John Scofield – New Morning – The Paris Concert (2010)

by | Nov 29, 2010 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

John Scofield – New Morning – The Paris Concert (2010)

Performers: The John Scofield Quartet: John Scofield – guitar; Bill Stewart – drums; Ben Street – bass; Michael Eckroth – keyboards

Selections: Ten Taken; Woody “N You; Slinky; My Foolish Heart; Steeplechase; Hive; Lost Found & Inbetween; Chirikawa; Relaxin’ At Camarillo; Want To Talk About You; Groove Elation; The Guiness Spot 

Director: Daniel Farhi 

Studio: Inakustic

Video: 16:9 Color 

Audio: PCM 2.0, DTS 5.1, DDS 5.1

Extras: "Soundtrack sketches"
Length: 135 minutes

Rating: ****

It doesn’t seem that long ago that John Scofield was part of the new and exciting “Sons Of Miles” generation. In addition to Davis, Scofield played with Chet Baker, Gerry Mulligan, Pat Matheny, Charles Mingus, Joe Henderson, George Duke, Jaco Pastorius, Pat Martino, Billy Cobham, Bill Frisell, Herbie Hancock and a host of others. This blend of bebop, fusion, blues and soul helped to expand jazz to a wider audience. His quartet, consisting of Joe Lovano, Jack DeJohnette and Charlie Haden, produced several critically acclaimed albums. Scofield continues to record as a bandleader and collaborator.. His impeccable guitar work has allowed him to integrate seamlessly into a variety of creative environments.

“New Morning – The Paris Concert” is a no-frills performance of Scofield compositions and jazz standards. In addition to longtime drummer, the incomparable Bill Stewart, he has added Ben Street on acoustic bass, and one of his NYU students, Michael Eckroth on piano and keyboards. Traditional jazz structures open the concert, filmed in Paris. “Ten Taken” is a straight ahead jazz piece that begins with a dissonant improvisation on guitar. As with all of the uptempo numbers, the three man rhythm section is tight and focused. A Dizzy Gillespie piece, “Woody “N You” receives a skilled interpretation by Scofield’s impressive guitar runs. He has the capacity to explore the boundaries of a melody and maintain a freewheeling pace. “Relaxin’ At Camarillo”, a complicated Charlie Parker number, has a breezy countenance, lifted by the fluid guitar lines.

The influence of blues music can be heard on “Slinky”, as organ accompaniment meshes with interesting tempo breaks. Equally groove-oriented is the Scofield classic, “Groove Elation”. The quartet is solid throughout the program. Eckroth turns in a dazzling solo on “Hives”. Stewart also brings some accent on drums with sharp tempo breaks. “Chirikawa” is filled with catchy hooks, and combines a variety of styles. The band is extremely inventive on “Lost, Found And In Between”, with all four players executing unusual solos. Scofield gets the most out of the guitar, whether using effects (reverberation, echoes, or distortion), or just traditional playing.

Shot originally in HD the pictures are clear and precise. The sound (PCM Stereo, DTS or DDS 5.1) is pristine. The director has chosen to film the performance without a lot of visual trickery. A bonus feature, “Soundcheck Sketches”, offers some personal background into Scofield and the formation of the quartet. This DVD captures a great performance.

— Robbie Gerson

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