A veteran of many Montreal International Jazz Festivals, this will be the first time the guitarist sees other parts of the Province. ‘Sco’ – as he is known, is very excited …
“I am looking forward to seeing Quebec City and the rest of the beautiful province. I am also looking forward to playing with this trio, these are my go – to guys and I call this my Uber – Jam.”
Scofield is referring to bassist Scott Colley and drummer Bill Stewart. Combined with Scofield, a trio which will run the gamut of music. Not just Jazz – a bit of rhythm and blues, Gospel and Country?
“There is always a bit of country in music.” Laughs John. ” I really think that Country, R and B and Blues are the cornerstones of all music. Look at the sixties. It was a fun time because every musician experimented with every genre. It was an innocent time in many ways and everything was new. Musicians had a lot of fun and the music wasn’t categorized like today.”
Scofield admits that categories did exist back then but there was more freedom. Freedom creatively without being ‘cornered’ into a musical label.
” I love to do everything.” Adds John. ” I have to be careful to say if I love Jazz, Jazz – fusion, Blues or whatever …! If I get labelled as a fusion player, then it is easier to be criticized for playing bluesy – type stuff. It is simpler for me to not say too much and be able to branch out in different genres when I feel like it.”
John Scofield considers Miles Davis as his mentor. ‘Sco’ learned a lot playing with Miles on three albums and doing multiple shows. ‘The Master’, as Scofield refers to the iconic Jazz innovator, was in a world of his own. Onstage and offstage …
“I was never ‘buddies’ with Miles, I don’t think anyone outside his family were real buddies. He was the type of guy who needed change. He was always changing and he taught me the single lesson which I continue to live by; keep it fresh!”
Another player who Miles took on as his bass player and played with John in Miles’ band was Daryl Jones, a guy who has played with Sting, Eric Clapton and is now the bass player in The Rolling Stones.
” Just before I starting playing with Miles, Marcus Williams was playing bass. Marcus went to school at Berkley with Vince Wilburn, who is Miles Davis’ nephew. Vince went to school with Daryl Jones ( The Rolling Stones) and Daryl was recruited by Miles to play bass. Miles had a lot of friends and a lot of these guys ended up playing with him at some point.”
” Daryl was just a kid when I played with him. He was what? Eighteen or something? He had no experience at all playing with any ‘famous’ players. Imagine that? I am very happy for him. He has done very well for himself and he was and is a great player.”
Scofield considers himself fortunate to play with so many different players these days. A line – up of his choice when and if he wants. He will not deny an occasion to play with a musician from different ‘walks’ of talent but does admit it is difficult to play with those who are less talented.
” I am not above anyone but playing with lesser talent is hard. You end up bringing yourself down to their level. I like – as I think most people do, to constantly grow and get better. You always want to improve and continue an education upwards.”
John Scofield, Scott Colley and Bill Stewart will play their first show in Quebec on February 6 in Gatineau. The trio will enable John to ‘see’ places such as Victoriaville, Shawinigan, Quebec City and Sherbrooke among other towns in La Belle Province.
What songs can a concert goer expect at any one of these shows?
” We are leaving it open.” Explains John. “Mostly the shows will contain Jazz standards but we will add different songs each night. A little R and B, Gospel and some fusion. A few ballads as well. It will be hard to play songs from my album Piety Street ( a gospel and R and B album recorded in New Orleans) since I cannot sing. Each show we will improvise a bit which is what music is all about. I’m addicted to free – form Jazz so …”
Following his tour of Quebec, Scofield will be releasing an album and touring Europe. Uber – Jam Deux will consist of John, Larry Goldings and Greg Hutchinson.
That tour will be ‘warmer’ for Scofield than his arrival in Quebec at the beginning of February. Warmer temperature – wise maybe. Warmer than the receptive audiences in Montreal? A place where Scofield’s playing has gained appreciation for a couple of decades …?
The trio are playing in Montreal at L’Astral on Feb.13th. Opening act is Rafael Zaldivar
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