Miles Davis' group, guitarist John Scofield recorded this passionate trio set with electric bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Adam Nussbaum. Much of Scofield's playing here is quite rock-ish although he does show off his jazz chops on Jackie McLean's "Dr. Jackle." The frequently intense music (which has been reissued on CD), which is not as essential as many of the guitarist's later sets, has plenty of fiery moments.
John Scofield is documented in his pre-Miles Davis period on Shinola, a 1981 date with Steve Swallow (electric bass) and Adam Nussbaum
(drums). The guitarist's distinctive style is highly developed even at
this stage in his career, combining elements of rock and rhythm 'n'
blues with post-bop leanings and an uncanny, 'left-handed' lyricism, all
colored with a lightly distorted, subtly phase-shifted tone, his legato
lines embellished with bent notes, picked octaves and sweet 'n' sour
Nussbaum provides edgy momentum while Swallow's
agile bass fills in the texture with commentary and counterpoint.
Scofield's improvisations often sound more like rhetorical questions
than declarative statements, implying the very answers for which he
seems to be searching. On "Dr. Jackle" he turns out high-speed, slightly
fragmented phrases that sideslip in and out of key, using open strings
and other guitar-friendly techniques that, paradoxically, achieve an
ultimately horn-like effect. "Yawn," a wistful, searching ballad, and
the solo intro to "Jean the Bean" both show Scofield's ability to
suggest complex harmonies with minimal means, laced with guitar licks
straight out of the soul music lexicon that nevertheless avoid sounding
"Rags to Riches," a catchy original, contains strong solos
and a humorous "Those Were the Days" quote. Closing out the disc, the
title track alternates heavily distorted bombast with a gently cascading
line, fleshed out with a neck-spanning solo of slow bends, hard riffing
and attitude to spare.
"Why'd You Do It?"
"Jean the Bean"
"Rags to Ritches"
John Scofield - electric guitar
Steve Swallow - bass
Adam Nussbaum - drums