John Scofield: Wikis


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John Scofield

John Scofield at Moers Festival 2006, Germany
Background information
Born December 26, 1951 (1951-12-26) (age 58) Dayton, Ohio, United States
Genres Contemporary jazz, Jazz funk, Jazz fusion, Post bop
Occupations Musician, Songwriter
Instruments Guitar
Labels EmArcy Records, Verve, Blue Note, Gramavision, Enja
Associated acts Medeski Martin & Wood
Notable instruments
Ibanez Artstar AS200

John Scofield (born December 26, 1951 in Dayton, Ohio)[1], often referred to as "Sco," is an American jazz guitarist and composer, who has played and collaborated with Miles Davis, Joe Henderson, Charles Mingus, Joey Defrancesco, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, Bill Frisell, Pat Martino, Mavis Staples, Phil Lesh, Billy Cobham, Medeski Martin & Wood, George Duke, Jaco Pastorius, John Mayer [1], and many other important artists. At ease in the bebop idiom, Scofield is also well versed in jazz fusion, funk, blues, soul, and other forms of modern American music.



Early in his life, Scofield's family left Ohio and relocated to the small, then mostly rural location of Wilton, Connecticut; it was here that he discovered his interest in music.[2]

Educated at the prestigious Berklee College of Music, Scofield eventually left school to record with Chet Baker and Gerry Mulligan. He joined the Billy Cobham/George Duke Band soon after and spent two years playing, recording and touring with them. Scofield recorded with Charles Mingus in 1976, and replaced Pat Metheny in Gary Burton's quartet[3]. In autumn 1976 he signed a contract with Enja Records, and he released his first album, John Scofield, in 1977. Around this time, he toured and recorded with Pianist Hal Galper, first on his own solo album "Rough House" in 1978, and Galper's album Ivory Forest (1980), where he is heard playing a solo rendition of Thelonious Monk's "Monk's Mood". In 1979 he formed a trio with his mentor Steve Swallow and Adam Nussbaum which, with drummer Bill Stewart replacing Nussbaum, has become the signature group of Scofield's career. In 1982, he joined Miles Davis, with whom he remained for three and a half years. He contributed tunes and guitar work to three Davis recordings, Star People, You're under Arrest and Decoy.

While still with Davis, he released the first of his Gramavision recordings Electric Outlet (1984). Still Warm (1985) followed after he left Davis's group. At the end of the Davis tenure, he started what is now referred to as his Blue Matter Band - with Dennis Chambers on drums, Gary Grainger on bass and at times either Robert Aries or Jim Beard on keyboards - releasing Blue Matter, Loud Jazz and Pick Hits Live.

At the beginning of the 1990s, he formed his quartet that included Joe Lovano with whom he recorded several important albums for Blue Note Records. Time on My Hands (1990), with Lovano, Charlie Haden and Jack DeJohnette, showcased Scofield's guitar and Mingus-influenced writing. Bill Stewart subsequently became the group's drummer, and played on Meant To Be (1991) and What We Do (1993). In 1992, Scofield released Grace Under Pressure, featuring fellow guitarist Bill Frisell, with Charlie Haden on bass and Joey Baron on drums. Stewart rejoined with Scofield and bassist Steve Swallow for the 1994 collaboration with Pat Metheny, I Can See Your House From Here.

Towards the end of his tenure with Blue Note, Scofield returned to a more funk and soul jazz-oriented sound, a direction which has dominated much of his subsequent output. He recorded the acclaimed 1997 album A Go Go with the avant garde jazz trio Medeski Martin & Wood. Also during this period, his relationship began with British composer Mark-Anthony Turnage. First as a soloist on Turnage's Blood on the Floor: Elegy for Andy, the two paired up to create Scorched, Turnage's orchestrations of Scofield compositions largely form the Blue Matter period. Scorched, a recording available on Deutsche Grammophon, debuted in Frankfurt, Germany.

He released Überjam in 2002 and Up All Night in 2004, two albums on which he experiments with drum n bass and other modern rhythms. John Scofield has also worked and recorded in Europe with nu-fusionist Bugge Wesseltoft New Conception of Jazz in 2001/2 and 2006. Late 2004 saw the release of EnRoute: John Scofield Trio LIVE, which features the jazz trio of John Scofield, Steve Swallow on bass and Bill Stewart on drums. It was recorded live at The Blue Note in NYC in December 2003. The next year, he released That's What I Say - JS plays the music of Ray Charles - Scofield with an all-star guest studded collection of Ray Charles material. This led to a series of performances with Mavis Staples, Gary Versace on organ, John Benitez on bass, and the venerable Steve Hass on drums.

After filling in for guitarist Larry Campbell for two engagements in December (3rd & 4th) of 2005 with Phil Lesh & Friends, Scofield has since played numerous shows with the band. Most recently, on June 3 at Mountain Jam, which took place in Hunter, NY the first weekend of June 2007.

On September 26, 2006 he released Out Louder, his second collaborative effort album with avant garde jazz trio Medeski Martin & Wood. The group, known collectively as MSMW toured extensively worldwide in 2006 and 2007, with sporadic engagements planned through 2008. Scofield also performs as a duo with John Medeski - aptly named The Johns and another groove trio with Scofield, Medeski and drummer Adam Deitch.

September 18, 2007 saw This Meets That released on EmArcy Records - Universal Music's jazz label, a record featuring his trio with Steve Swallow and Bill Stewart. This time John added a horn section to expand the sound of his trio. The touring unit for this record features the Sco Horns, a three piece horn section of Phil Grenadier on trumpet and flugelhorn, Tom Olin on tenor saxophone, flute and alto flute and Frank Vacin on baritone saxophone and bass clarinet.

Scofield is currently serving as an adjunct faculty member in the Jazz Department at New York University's Steinhardt School of Education. Married to Susan Scofield in 1978, they are the parents of music producer Jean Scofield b. 1981 and Evan Scofield b. 1987.


Scofield endorses Ibanez guitars. His signature guitar, the JSM100, is based on his longtime stage and recording guitar, a 1981 Ibanez AS200 which he believes to be one of the best semi-acoustics ever built. He gets his tone by running a Pro Co RAT through either a Vox AC-30 or Mesa Boogie amplifier. Some of his effects include an Ibanez CS9 Analog Chorus, a Line 6 FM4 Filter Modeler, and a Line 6 DL4 Delay Modeler. Some of his additional effects include a Digitech XP100 Whammy/Wah, a Boss EQ Pedal, a Boss Loop Station, and a Boomerang phrase sampler pedal. John Scofield uses Dunlop Delrin 2 mm picks.


John Scofield playing at the International Jazz Festival Enschede, 2007.

As leader & co-leader

As a sideman

Onstage in 2004

With Teodross Avery

With Billy Cobham

With Larry Coryell

With Miles Davis

With John Ellis:

  • One Foot In The Swamp (2005) - Hyena

With David Friesen

With Jon Gordon

  • Possibilities (2000) - Double-Time

With Herbie Hancock

With Jimmy Haslip

  • A R C (1993) - UMG

With Roy Haynes

  • Love Letters (2003) - Columbia

With Joe Henderson

With Ron Holloway

With Marc Johnson

With Lee Konitz

  • Rhapsody II (1993) - Evidence

With Manhattan Jazz Quintet

  • Manhattan Blues (1990) – Sweet Basil

With Gary Marks

With Charles Mingus

With Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker

With John Patitucci

With Phil Lesh and Friends

With Dizzy Gillespie

With Harvie Swartz

  • In a Different Light (1990) - Blue Moon

With Tommy Smith:

With Gary Thomas

  • By Any Means Necessary (1989) - JMT

With Bugge Wesseltoft

  • New Conception Of Jazz Live (2003) - Jazzland

With Lenny White

  • Present Tense (1995) - Hip Bop

With Jack DeJohnette

  • Music for the fifth world (1992) - Capitol


External links


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