John Scofield

John Scofield

A Go Go

Verve

Man. John Scofield. Before I’d even bothered to look at who else was playing on this disc, I popped it in. I wanted some “Sco.” The man is one of the greatest guitar players kicking it in Jazz today. He can do anything, from weird out noisy guitar jazz (with Pat Metheny) to classic small combo stuff, to soft and chill mood music. With A Go Go, he displays the jovial funk sound that I dig best.

The album gets off to a rockin steady start with the title cut, but as you catch yourself groovin’ along and diggin’ the beat, you’ll also notice your desire to get down. The bass, the drums, the Hammond B3 organ all sound too familiar. It all sounds like someone trying to rip off, no, shit, it is Medeski, Martin And Wood! John Medeski on keys, Billy Martin on drums, and Chris Wood on basses. The three younger cats and their acid-Hawaiian-funk sound backing up John Scofield is really cool. The album is full of great grooving funking fun!

Now as much as I love John Scofield, there is a problem with many of his up-tempo releases. I find myself several songs through the disc and realize that I’ve stopped listening as intently. I tend to get comfortable with the sounds he’s making and find myself thinking that several of the cuts sound the same. I stop and start my CD player and realize that although each song is a totally smashing piece, they do tend to make you used to the sound and seem to blend together a bit. A Go Go is subject to this illness as well. If the MMW combo had been allowed to do some of their distinctive and surprising quirky playing, this might have been avoided. Instead it sounds like all of the musicians are working together to produce a more straight-ahead sound that is distinctively funky and fun, not quirky or noisy.

All around this is a great release, and will be digged by anyone who likes Scofield, MMW, or is just getting into the bands or genres for the first time. Exceptional jives.

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