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John Scofield - A Go Go CD (album) cover


John Scofield


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.36 | 20 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Fans of the Brooklyn jazz combo Medeski Martin & Wood who can't get enough of that unique MMW sound will definitely want to check out this 1998 album, the first of several collaborations with ace guitarist John Scofield. Just don't expect anything near the same high plateau of innovative creativity heard on the trio's own albums.

An acknowledgement by Scofield in the CD booklet says it best: "Thanks to MMW for putting their vibe on my tunes." In other words, these are notably John Scofield tunes, and it would be a mistake to approach the album as even a secondhand Medeski Martin & Wood session, despite the familiarity of their vibe.

It isn't really a fair comparison anyway, kindred spirits though they obviously are. The undemanding retro-lounge sound of this aptly-titled effort seems almost designed to glide smoothly into one ear and out the other, and even with players of this caliber there's hardly enough substance to hold the interest of listeners looking for more challenging musical fusions.

Make no mistake, however: it's an undeniably pleasant experience, at times even reaching the acme of cool (in the groovy musak of the title track; in "Jeep 35"; and elsewhere). Scofield's typically fluid guitar work often takes on an intriguing, almost Fripp-like angularity (see: "Deadzy"). And it's hard to dismiss an album featuring a song named for maverick filmmaker Stanley Kubrick. With its offbeat chord structure and arrangement it's the most unique cut on the album too.

Strangely this first collaboration, with the MMW trio employed strictly as hired sidemen, works better than the later album ("Out Louder", in 2006) on which they all shared compositional credit, a case perhaps of too many cooks, so forth. It definitely helps to hear the quartet's initial efforts not as an extension of the Medeski Martin & Wood discography, but as a point of entry into the extensive back catalogue of a celebrated veteran guitarist.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |


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