John Scofield Trio
John Goldman's Quadrangle

Old Town School of Folk Music, Chicago, IL
February 5, 2011

John Scofield
John Scofield

Story by Brad Walseth, Photos by Phil Onofrio, Copyright 2011

Legendary guitarist John Scofield ad his trio recently appeared for a full house for two sets at the Old Town School of Folk Music. Phil Onofrio and I were there and caught the second set.

Reedman John Goldman's Quadrangle started things off with a fine set of his recent originals from 2010's Outside the Box, and a well-chosen Jackie McLean number ("Itty Bitty"). Accompanied by guitarist Scott Hesse, bassist Christian Dillingham and drummer Corey Healey, Goldman offered up some delicious and at times effected saxophone, as well as some tasty flute (on "Soy Gonzo"). Alluding to the lately departed and sorely missed Fred Anderson, Goldman said he would not have met the musicians playing with him onstage without the influence of the late Velvet Lounge owner. The musicians in question performed admirably, with Hesse especially shining on "Hesse Steps." Tribute was also paid to long time Velvet stalwart, bassist Harrison Bankhead on "Harrison." It was a pleasure catching this talented quartet in action.

Scofield's trio included bassist Ben Street (Kurt Rosenwinkel, Ben Monder) and longtime drummer Bill Stewart (Marc Copland, Bill Carrothers) and these two younger players are among the best on the NYC scene. Street exhibited a unique style that mixed angular and unexpected note choices with a confident full tone. Stewart meanwhile produced superb solos that snapped and crackled like a bushfire. But of course the center of attention for the evening was the veteran guitar virtuoso. Rocking back and forth on his heels, Scofield energetically alternated between picking and plucking the strings with his fingers - creating a melange of blues, jazz, country, funk, rock and folk. Considered one of a trio of modern guitarists who appeared in the '70s - along with Pat Metheny and Bill Frisell (both of whom, Scofield has recorded with) - and who influenced an entire generation of players, Scofield combined a dexterous command of the fretboard with a penchant for gritty, blues-infused chordings. Between songs, an out of breath, "Sco" mentioned the difficulties in performing in a trio and having to play "endless solos" and indeed, he did seem to lose a bit of steam toward the end of the evening (I was told by an attendee who saw both shows that the first set was a bit more intense). However most guitarists would be more than thrilled to be able play with such ability.

Songs on the evening included "Green Tea," "Memorette," Dizzy Gillespie's "Woody n' You," "Plain Song," the lovely waltz "Simply Put" (an opportunity to slow things down), a sprightly "Bye Bye Blackbird" and old favorite "Twang;" and with that, the crowd filed out into the cold and urban icebregs - satisfied by their evening in the presence of one of the true masters of the six-string.

Scofield, Stewart & Street

Scott Hesse & John Goldman

Christian Dillingham & Corey Healey

Check out other recent concerts reviews and photos

Return to jazzchicago home