The Grammy-winning guitarist, composer and bandleader John Scofield has allowed his musical eclecticism to be his guiding compass to explore a spectrum of idioms of genres, ranging from electric fusion to modern bop, from greasy R&B to drum-n-bass, and from rock to blues and gospel. So it comes as no surprise that Scofield would follow his 2015 Grammy-winning album, Past Present, by shifting gears with something like Country for Old Men.
And Scofields incredible jazz improvising skills are fully present throughout. With the help of frequent collaborators drummer Bill Stewart, organist and pianist Larry Goldings, and bassist Steve Swallow Scofield renders 12 country tunes through the prism of vigorous modern jazz.
My idea for this record was to take country tunes and turn them into jazz ones Scofield explains, Because country tunes are simple--theyre easy to reharmonize. The improvisation and group feel are essential to each track.
John focuses strongly on the melody of each song, accentuating his playing with a noticeable twang, which lends the music the requisite bucolic sensibility. In fact, John says that country singers played an influential role in his musical development. Ive liked country music since I was a young kid listening to the radio, he recalls. I think all the tunes work as jazz. Plus, I was really inspired to sound country when I played the melodies. I was amazed at how well it worked.