The meeting of the album's title is Sco meeting country blues.
Chris Jones 2008
John Scofield has now played with every major jazz name under the sun, from Miles to Herbie and has shown himself capable of tackling styles from jazz to funk and even a bit of blues and rock (with the Grateful Dead's Phil Lesh). Now he turns his eye to the area that usually gets associated with one of the other guitarists of his level of expertise, Bill Frisell: yes, the meeting of the album's title is Sco meeting country blues. Joining forces with his trio of choice () he also augments the whole with the 'Sco horns' – a brass section which peps up the corners of this lovely little record.
Frisell isn't just a touchstone here. He actually turns up to guest on a version of House Of The Rising Sun. His appearance here is as tasteful as usual, though it's a little unnecessary as Sco himself does that clean, compressed tone just as well as Frisell himself throughout. He even makes a fair fist of the country standard, Charlie Rich's Behind Closed Doors.
But it's the tracks with the horns that really grab here. Opener, The Low Road, is a wonderfully spry funky, swinger that growls and teases in all the right places. Here Sco also recalls a fellow ECM artist, Terje Rypdal. But this album's a mixed bag and the following track, Down D, reminds one of the recent instrumental explorations of Tom Verlaine, or perhaps Jerry Garcia's lonesome twang. There's a simplicity here born of years of experience and only on Strangeness in the Night does the playing seem a little aimless.
At this stage in his career Scofield seems intent on still expanding his horizons. And the forms explored here make perfect sense.