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Friday, Feb. 17, 2006

LISTENING POST

LIVE

John Scofield


Though guitar heads and groove-lovers dig the jazz of guitarist John Scofield, his ever-changing sound is just as cerebral as it is danceable. Whether leaping into jam band rock or funkifying post-bop, or whether, as on his most recent CD, "That's What I Say," electrifying the songs of Ray Charles, "Sco" always plays with integrity and cool.

One of the most copied of contemporary guitarists, Scofield often seems to hide his consummate technique beneath a laidback musical attitude. And while he may confound jazz purists as he moves comfortably between the funky, sampling-laden fusion of 2002's "Uberjam" and the lean post-bop drive of 2004's "EnRoute," but he definitely knows what electric guitars were put on this earth to do -- and that's to ignite a good time.

On board for his upcoming Japan tour -- which takes in Tokyo Blue Note next week -- is vocalist David Bowman of the Screaming Headless Torsos, an eclectic jazz-rock unit from New York. Bowman's unique style of rapping and scatting with blazing intensity fits well with Scofield's electric guitar. As on "That's What I Say," Scofield may lay back a bit behind the vocals, but he knows how to make soulful solos turn into fireworks -- and Ray Charles' best-known tunes sound just as good with the amps up and the jams long.

A fusion of rock, blues, R&B and jazz would be no surprise to Brother Ray, of course, and an evening with Sco and his band will be soulful, jam-out and funky jazz at its best.

John Scofield: Feb. 27-March 1 at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., at Tokyo Blue Note, (03) 5485-0033.


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