John Scofield can be seen perform in many configurations and styles like Funk and Soul-Jazz, or joining Phil Lesh and Friends, Medeski, Martin & Wood for tours. He brings a hell of a lot of skill to those acts which comes from a place which he invited everyone to at the Ottawa Jazz Festival on Saturday night.
He's fundamentally a master jazz musician who happens to have figured out the guitar in ways very few have achieved. This is why he spent much of his career as a sideman for legends like Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, and Chet Baker.
He's formed many trios and quartets as well, one in the 90's that included saxophonist Joe Lovano, who joined him in his quartet this evening along with Ben Street (bass) and Bill Stewart (drums).
This was some hardcore jazz, and was nearly a masterclass of comping, arpeggios, and improvisation if one was able to pay attention and take notes, that is. Tuning in to John Scofield while Joe Lovano was working a solo was absolutely fascinating. The tremendous amounts of voicings used as he maintains or even directs the flavour of the runs by Lovano is difficult to comprehend.
Scofield's Ibanez has that lovely vintage pale yellow hue applied to the white stoke around the body. It's obvious that he's been driving this thing for many years. It's hum could be akin to how car enthusiasts describe how the engine of a hot rod sounds. "Listen to that thing purr". His guitar is a hot rod indeed and he knows how to take the audience for a thrilling ride.
The room was extremely appreciative of all the musicians as they took turns around the track. John might take lead, and pass off the baton to Joe, Ben and then Bill. It's a blast to watch such talented musicians having fun together, effortlessly jamming some extremely complicated measures while smiling across to each other.