Thursday, January 05, 2017

John Scofield Country For Old Men

John Scofield
Country For Old Men

This new release by John Scofield has him reinvestigating his country/folk roots alongside accomplished colleagues Steve Swallow, Larry Goldings and Bill Stewart. It is a homage to such greats as George Jones, Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard, James Taylor and Hank Williams among others, with some songs evoking a classic honky tonk feel like the opening rendition of a George Jones classic "Mr. Fool," with Scofield's twang and use of sustain set against Goldings' country-flavored piano and a simple rhythm groove while a few others taking a different tack as the transformation of Hank Williams' lament. "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry," into a rollicking roadhouse stomp and almost a mash up with Jay McShann's "Jumpin' the Blues," on a stunning performance with some fiery playing in his improvisation.

There is the restrained rendition of James Taylor's "Bartender's Blues," the percolating groove over a spirited "Wildwood Flower," and a sober "Wayfaring Stranger." The sparkling flavor of the interpretation of Merle Haggard's "Mama Tried," contrasts the bluesy flavor of the rendition of Dolly Parton's "Jolene." Other treats include the Bob Wills' classic ballad "Faded Love," and the classic "Red River Valley," transformed into a rocking organ-guitar feature with some of Scofield's most inventive improvisation. A brief, acoustic statement of the theme of "I'm an Old Cowhand," serves to end a most appealing album of jazz renditions of classic country tunes.

I received a download to review from publicist. Here is John Scofield performing the country classic that was redone by Ray Charles, "You Don't Know Me."

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