It is sometimes easy to see how an authentic studio recording or live performance is reflective of the musicians who created it. The full range of human emotions and life experiences can be read like a book: the early tentativeness, bold career-building initiatives, ups, downs, different stages. Eventually there are works that embody a musician who is obviously in full stride. Creativity without doubts or regrets, without compromise. A certain understanding, that undefinable karma. Music in this context truly has no boundaries. Born in the soul of the inspired musician, it can reach out to the inner child of each listener and evoke powerful feelings of happiness and tranquility.
The John Scofield Band’s uberjam captures this feel-good concept to explore and redefine the landscape of contemporary music. Layer upon layer of sound and energy, set amongst an array of tunes and tempos, create a flow that is undeniably fun. The bass is hopping all over the place. The drumming is forceful and shameless. There is rhythm guitaring and electronic sampling that is hard to believe. Starts, stops, manipulations, and of course, there’s the unmistakable guitar sound of John Scofield on top of it all: leading, changing, and freaking out what is freaky to begin with. Add a dash of Karl Denson and a healthy portion of John Medeski on keys, and the listener’s fully-stimulated mind is forced to open the floodgates and let the joy flow.
For proof, we subjected a group of people with varying ages, personalities, and musical tastes to the sounds of uberjam and recorded the results. Jason, a 13 year-old currently infatuated with mainstream hip-hop, was going retro with an unending series of breakdance maneuvers. Two year-old Pauline could be seen bobbing her head incessantly, while her older brother Oliver had this to say: “I used to collect live Barney tapes, but from now on it’s all Scofield Band for me!” Michael, a 44 year-old investment banker, wiped the drool from his mouth a let out a “Scoooooooooh……Fieeeeeeeeeld……” that was worth a thousand words. His wife was busy looking for extras for the upcoming tour. 26 year-old Tanya had regressed the furthest perhaps, staring and uncontrollably giggling at the CD case.
The immeasurable appeal of this innovative new album is not limited to any particular type of listener or category of music. It is clearly jazz in that it is both a reflection of current trends and an advancement into unexplored realms. But rock and rollers will have their fill, trance fans will like what they hear, and jam-heads will get what they need. It is a very cutting-edge production, a full-throttled celebration of life and freedom. From start to finish, these spirited arrangements from the John Scofield Band will leave you acting like the child you once were. Which is a good thing.
JamBase Providence Correspondent
Go See Live Music!
The John Scofield Band | uberjam | 2002 Verve
John Scofield electric guitar
Avi Bortnick rhythm guitar, samples, acoustic guitar
Jesse Murphy bass
Adam Deitch drums, rap, percussion
John Medeski mellotron, B3 organ, clavinet, mellotron
Karl Denson flute, saxophone
1. Acidhead 6:33
2. Ideofunk 4:44
3. Jungle Fiction 5:39
4. I Brake 4 Monster Booty 4:02
5. Animal Farm 5:36
6. Offspring 6:27
7. Tomorrow Land 3:58
8. uberjam 6:53
9. Polo Towers 5:29
10. Snap, Crackle, Pop 6:02
11. Lucky For Her 3:12