Thursday, July 4, 2013

John Scofield Uberjam deux Emarcy 2013

John Scofield is the master of the abstract groove...And he is back!
Brent Black / @CriticalJazz

Aside from the cover art which pushes the creepy envelope into a new dimension of weird, Uberjam deux is a release over a decade in the making and well worth the wait. Scofield's last release, A Moments Peace was a delightful ballad oriented recording which showcased the variety and spontaneity that is synonymous with one of the giants of modern jazz guitar. For some, John Scofield can be a little all over the place as his eclectic spin on the particular project at hand can cause some fans distress while leaving a good many critics scratching their collective heads.

Uberjam deux is different, the follow up to the critically acclaimed Uberjam finds Scofield seemingly far more focused and without the ambient techno oriented accoutrement's of the original. Funk grooves and dance beats are fused with African poly rhythms in an intoxicating hybrid that borders on world music with a rock edge. Uberjam deux may be best described as Uberjam meets the classic Scofield recording, A Go Go.

Special guest John Medeski adds flavor as well as that golden harmonic thread which ties five of the eleven tunes together as a addictive world groove hybrid of sound seemingly ignored by similar artists. There is an air of expected predictability with this recording however the performances are at such an artistically proficient level it is clearly the modern evolution of the Scofield sound. With the exception of the cover art, looking for criticism as it relates to this release is to take hypercritical to the next level.

A better than average release that edges close to greatness and one that Scofield fans should flock to without hesitation. The post modern rock edge should bring some new converts into the Scofield camp as well.

4 Stars.

Tracks: Camelus; Boogie Stupid; Endless Summer; Dub Dub; Cracked Ice; Al Green Song; Snake Dance; Torero; Curtis Knew; Just Don't Want To Be Lonely.

Personnel: John Scofield: guitar; Avi Bortnick: guitar and samples; Andy Hess: bass; Adam Deitch: drums (1,2,4,5,7,10,11); Louis Cato: drums (3,6,8,9); Special Guest: John Medeski: organ, wurlitzer, mellotron (2,4,6,10,11)