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I purchased "54" on a whim, partly because of the colorful marbles on the cover (which remind me of the jelly beans), but mostly because I know John Scofield won't disappoint. What I didn't know was "54", a project album by Scofield and Mendoza, would be such a gorgeous, eclectic and playful treat.
A heady, frolicking experience on the first listen, "54" is difficult to pin down. It truly is a marble bag of contemporary jazz: One minute it's a wall of dynamic big band horns, the next it's a liquid jazz guitar run supported by a silky quartet. The orchestra rises up again and gives way to a sullen sax, a muted trumpet and then back to Scofield's guitar, full of grace and bite. You'll hear some mesmerizing piano work, the obligatory brushes on snare, organ parts that sound like they were pulled off a Medeski, Martin & Wood album and the orchestra curiously cranking out what could be mistaken for obscure film scores.
The Metropole Orkest, a Dutch outfit, really brings out the luster in the nine tracks, all but two written by Scofield. After hearing "Honest I Do" and its stunning violin intro, you'll wonder why the strings weren't used more. The horns far outweigh the strings, and to me that's the album's only weak spot.
But that minor flaw aside, the work does have broad appeal. You don't need to be a Scofield fan to appreciate this project, although it's peppered generously with John's guitar.
Looking for a new CD to impress the guests at your next wine-and-cheese gathering? Need a soundtrack to watch the sun go down from your deck? A companion for a rainy-night drive? You found it here.
The Metropole Orkest have a clean,sharp and dynamic sound which can blast you out of your seat at times(a good thing). Sco's playing is great and the arrangements are fresh.
Schofield played with Miles Davis. Schofield is one of the best improvisors for Jazz guitar.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Perfect storm of cool. Sco and Vince Mendoza and Metropole!Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
i have a different cd called scorched, and it is john schofield, with orchestra. this is much better. Read morePublished 9 months ago by dion
Vince Mendoza is one of the most creative arranger/orchestrator/composers in music. Here he collaborates with one of the most creative jazz improvisors in music. Read morePublished on April 6, 2013 by Uncle George