Review: ‘John Scofield Quartet’

Now and then, Scofield tries to pretend he's going along with the current neo-bop program -- witness the first set's rather conventional opening number, "Don't Shoot the Messenger." But it didn't take long for this one-time Miles Davis sideman to begin exploring the deep-pile grooves that make his new album, "Groove Elation" (Blue Note), his funkiest in years.

Now and then, Scofield tries to pretend he’s going along with the current neo-bop program — witness the first set’s rather conventional opening number, “Don’t Shoot the Messenger.” But it didn’t take long for this one-time Miles Davis sideman to begin exploring the deep-pile grooves that make his new album, “Groove Elation” (Blue Note), his funkiest in years.

Scofield’s trademarks — a deceptively offhand tone and angular meanderings all over the guitar — are so pliable that they don’t really change much from style to style; they fit anywhere he wants. He also added some new catchy riffs to his repertoire, the most memorable being the title tune of the new album.

Yet it is the chemistry of this band that makes Scofield’s current music fizz. Larry Goldings has become a monster Hammond B3 organ player, and the work of Idris Muhammad, a veteran drummer and a leader in his own right, gradually became more heated and jagged.

John Scofield Quartet

(Catalina Bar and Grill, 105 seats, $ 15 top)

Production

Presented by Catalina Bar and Grill. Reviewed Dec. 12, 1995. Closes Dec. 17. Instantly recognizable and easily adaptable, John Scofield's guitar is now a part of a great new jazz-funk-oriented quartet that started to generate some real heat Tuesday at Catalina.

Cast

Band: John Scofield, Larry Goldings, Dennis Irwin, Idris Muhammad.
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