Record of the Day: John Scofield, "Groove Elation"

Record of the Day: John Scofield, “Groove Elation”

John Scofield
Groove Elation (Cd Blue Note 83280124)

The name of John Scofield certainly needs no introduction for jazz enthusiasts: his skill has been recognized since his time in Miles Davis’ group, and the American guitarist has a large and successful discography to his credit. This album, however, like the previous and equally beautiful “Hand Jive”, moves away from the purely jazz style to pay homage to the classic Organ Combos which were so successful in the 60s thanks to the albums of Wes Montgomery and Grant Green, where the the emphasis was more on blues than bebop and the soul and r&b influences were more pronounced.

Scofield has brought together a group of friends whose names guarantee a result of absolute quality right from the start. Larry’s organ
Goldings pays homage to Big John Patton and Richard ‘Groove’ Holmes with heart-warming sounds, Dennis Irwin
on double bass he is as always solid and full of swing but the real protagonist of the album together with the leader is the formidable drummer Idris Muhammad (do you remember him with Lou Donaldson in albums like “Alligator Bogaloo” and “Midnight Creeper”?) who once again demonstrates time to be the absolute number one when it comes to building essential and at the same time driving funky rhythms. Just listen to how he holds the diabolical slow groove tempo of the initial “Lazy” to jump on the chair, while in “Peculiar” and in the shuffle of “Let the Cat Out” Muhammad will knock you out with his drums that seem to know no stopping in proposing always interesting figures.

Scofield for his part writes some of the best songs of his career (even if “Kool” is copied from scratch from “Let the Music Take Your Mind” by Grant Green; coincidentally Muhammad was on drums on that album too) and exhibits solos that innovate tradition at the exact moment in which they pay explicit homage to it, alternating electric and acoustic guitars with always unpredictable phrasings and melodic pirouettes, having fun playing with the clichés of the genre and then turning at the last second in a different direction .

If to all this we add the percussion of the old lion Don Alias ​​and a heavy caliber horn section that includes Steve Turre on trombone, Randy Brecker on trumpet, Billy Drews on sax and Howard Johnson on tuba the result can only be incendiary.

Carlo Boccadoro, composer and conductor, was born in Macerata in 1963. He lives and works in Milan. He collaborates with soloists and orchestras in different parts of the world. He is the author of numerous books on musical topics.

This text is taken from “Lunario della musica: A record for every day of the year” published by Einaudi, courtesy of the author and the publisher.