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EnRoute (Live)

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Album Review

Following a series of coruscating servings of progressive uber funk for Verve, Scofield stripped down to a trio for this live session at New York's Blue Note club in December 2003. He hooked up with a pair of old friends, the terrific loose-limbed drummer Bill Stewart, and the tense, nimble bassist Steve Swallow, and the three go after each other in some often-furiously busy, driving, tangled interplay, defying the frigid New York weather of that period. Denzil Best's "Wee" gets a scorching, asymmetrical workout to start, and Swallow's "Name That Tune" promptly goes into super overdrive, with Scofield darting all over the place in his idiosyncratic way. "Hammock Soliloquy" varies between another of Scofield's irresistible, laid-back, country tunes and more combustible high-speed interplay, while "Bag" ain't nothin' but the blues with a volatile groove. A highly-convoluted trip through "It Is Written" precedes — and partially pre-echoes — a quiet ballad-tempo rendition of the Bacharach/David tune "Alfie." The closest thing to the jazz/funk jams of Scofield's recent past is an 11-minute closing workout called "Over Big Top" — a paraphrase of "Bigtop" from his Groove Elation album — churning and driving relentlessly. Leaning more toward Scofield's jazz side per se, this high-energy outing should pass the time quite agreeably until he unleashes another of his jazz/funk groove-a-thons. ~ Richard S. Ginell, Rovi

Customer Reviews

Scofield in his element.

This album shows Scofield away from the funk rock he's spent the last 5 or so years doing. It's straight bebop played with incredible fire. All of his tricks are on display: the whammy, the horn passages, the wild angular lines, the slurs and splats...Scofield shows why he's a true jazz master. The songs vary, as well, with some nice ballads thrown in. Bill Stewart is no slouch, and neither is Swallows, so get ready to listen closely to the tension, release, and intense interplay of these three.

You will be awed.

First of all, Bill Stewart's drummming on this album is impossible. This is the record he is known for. Secondly, Sco's jazzy guitar has such a signature sound and sounds very relaxed. The bass also has a unique 'farty' sound to it. You will be opened to a whole new world of jazz if you buy this album!


Born: December 26, 1951 in Dayton, OH

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the "big three" of late 20th and early 21st century jazz guitarists (along with Pat Metheny and Bill Frisell), John Scofield's influence grew in the '90s and continued into the 21st century. Possessor of a very distinctive rock-oriented sound that is often a bit distorted, Scofield is a masterful jazz improviser whose music generally falls somewhere between post-bop, fusion, and soul-jazz. He started on guitar while at high school in Connecticut, and from 1970-1973 he studied at Berklee and...
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