Works for Me
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At his core, Sco is a jazz master, and we long to hear him interact with other giants of the genre. Works for Me answers this expectation generously. What's so compelling about hearing Sco with Billy Higgins, Kenny Garrett, Brad Mehldau, and Christian McBride is the accumulation of the fiery solos each man plays and the mood of each collective note. Higgins is the balloon the band rides here, and Mehldau has never sounded better. Garrett's dense logic is the perfect foil for Sco's charred leads; the intimately crafted songs find each man going deep with each improv. The band's overall crystalline perfection is so relaxing that it's almost mystical. And for all that, they trade fours and eights, a rarity in the pressured world of studio recording. This is an exceptional album that tells its tales with great depth, detail, color, humor, and passion. --Ken Micallef
Top Customer Reviews
One notable aspect of the album is the production, which comes off sounding a LOT like a cleaner (no tape hiss) version of a 60's Blue Note session. I've read that this album was recorded with no baffling of any kind, and that it was recorded direct to two track. As a result, there is a different sort of ambience to the recording; instruments are panned left and right, and there is some bleed over between the tracks. All in all, I find the sound of the record to be one of many of its very appealing qualities.
The musical highlights, to my mind, are "Not You Again," a new melody on the changes to "There Will Never Be Another You," especially for Brad Mehldau's constantly just-outside solo over the standard changes (it's incredible the way he walks the line between the changes and playing seemingly out thoughout the entire solo); "Love You Long Time," a gorgeous bossa; and, for Scofield especially, both "Do I Crazy?" and "Heel to Toe," which feature two of the finest examples of his playing on the record. Also, "Hive" starts off quite a lot like one of Ornette Coleman's late fifties tunes, before slipping into a straight swing feel for the improvs.
This is a great record.Read more ›
And there's more: There was the BeatleJazz project (2005); and the Ray Charles tribute album, "That's What I Say" (also 2005 and my least favourite of the bunch) and apparently, he's featured on many other artists' albums (like Roy Hanes' 2002 album "Love Letters" for instance, which I do have), some of which I haven't even come across yet.
So while JS has given us a good deal of good music in the last seven years, for me, essentially, this was the last proper John Scofield album. 'Proper' as in with him playing straight-ahead jazz.
And what an album it was too. It was via this album that I learned about Brad Mehldau and I swiftly went out and got every album of his I could find. He is joined on here by the wonderful Kenny Garrett on alto saxophone, the brilliant Christian McBride on bass and the very incredible Billy Higgins on drums. It's a joyride from beginning to end though once again - and I'm beginning to feel like I might possibly be a hopeless romantic trapped in a hardened cynic's body - it's the ballads I really love: "Big J" always makes me smile.Read more ›
Now, for those who prefer listening to ideology, here's the deal: This is good, solid straight ahead jazz. Not extraordinary or breathtaking, but a nice, tasty listen. Sco's effect-heavy sound does not sit as comfortably in this context as it does on records like "A Go-Go," and Brad Mehldau at times seems to be feeling his way around, and doesn't sound nearly as confident as one is used to, but Kenny Garrett really shines! Nice to hear this guy really playing and expressing himself rather than making his more recent elevator-jazz recordings. And the tunes are typically Sco, lyrical and punchy. For those who enjoy Scofield but don't dig jazz, you'd probably not like this record, but for those who enjoy Scofield *and* dig jazz, it's a nice one.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
What a great album. Scofield and the rest all sound great. Scofield often experiments with lots of styles and sounds, but this is straight up jazz, and it's great.Published 13 months ago by Ricky J.
Scofield is one of my favorite musicians and initially this album did not wow me. It is a Jazz quintet line up of Alto sax, guitar, piano, bass, and drums. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Jeff Andersen
Totally agree with the glowing praise for this album.
It's mainstream contemporary jazz, Scofield has assembled some talented musicians, the guitar playing is superb,... Read more
Scofield is that artist of rare compositional integrity that, whether indulging his experimental side or paying homage to his classic influences, puts out album after album of... Read morePublished on August 6, 2009 by IRate
I happened to chance upon this cd in the library and noticed that it was one of the late Billy Higgins' last dates (the other being Charles Lloyd's "The water is wide" on ECM). Read morePublished on November 20, 2008 by Dennis W. Wong
If you like jazz guitar you'll love the music on this cd. I love his tones and his melodic vocabulary seems to be endless. Read morePublished on August 16, 2007 by Vegas Dude
Talking with John Scofield after his JS Band set at the 2001 Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz Festival, the guitarist acknowledged how great it was to have finally made some sessions with... Read morePublished on May 7, 2007 by James Bonevich
Excellent Jazz masterpiece. Claims it to be a "one only dream only". Might be my dream album as well. This is the jazz disc I've been looking for. Read morePublished on January 2, 2002
Sco is great. Along with George Benson and Rodney Jones he is one of the funkiest guitarists playing today. I love the way that he does the organ groove thing. Read morePublished on August 23, 2001