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John Scofield at Moers Festival 2006, Germany
December 26, 1951 |
Dayton, Ohio, United States
|Genres||Jazz, post-bop, jazz fusion, jazz funk, acid jazz, nu jazz|
|Labels||Enja, Gramavision, Blue Note, Verve, EmArcy|
|Associated acts||Miles Davis, Billy Cobham, Pat Metheny, Steve Swallow, Marc Johnson, Joe Henderson, Joe Lovano, Medeski Martin & Wood, Trio Beyond|
|Ibanez Artist Series AS200|
John Scofield (born December 26, 1951, Dayton, Ohio, United States), often referred to as "Sco", is an American jazz-rock guitarist and composer, who has played and collaborated with Miles Davis, Dave Liebman, Joe Henderson, Charles Mingus, Joey DeFrancesco, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, Bill Frisell, Pat Martino, Mavis Staples, Phil Lesh, Billy Cobham, Medeski Martin & Wood, George Duke, Jaco Pastorius, John Mayer, Robert Glasper, Gov't Mule, and many other well-known artists. At ease in the bebop idiom, Scofield is also well versed in jazz fusion, funk, blues, soul, rock and other forms of modern American music.
Educated at the Berklee College of Music, John Scofield eventually left school to record with Chet Baker and Gerry Mulligan. He joined the Billy Cobham/George Duke Band soon after and spent two years playing, recording and touring with them. Scofield recorded with Charles Mingus in 1976, and replaced Pat Metheny in Gary Burton's quartet. In autumn 1976 he signed a contract with Enja Records, and he released his first album, John Scofield, in 1977. Around this time, he toured and recorded with Pianist Hal Galper, first on his own solo album Rough House in 1978, and Galper's album Ivory Forest (1980), where he is heard playing a solo rendition of Thelonious Monk's "Monk's Mood". In 1979 he formed a trio with his mentor Steve Swallow and Adam Nussbaum which, with drummer Bill Stewart replacing Nussbaum, has become the signature group of Scofield's career. In 1982, he joined Miles Davis, with whom he remained for three and a half years. He contributed tunes and guitar work to three Davis recordings, Star People, Decoy and You're Under Arrest. 
While still with Miles Davis, he released the first of his Gramavision recordings Electric Outlet (1984). Still Warm (1985) followed after he left Davis's group. At the end of the Davis tenure, he started what is now referred to as his Blue Matter Band - with Dennis Chambers on drums, Gary Grainger on bass and at times either Mitchel Forman, Robert Aries or Jim Beard on keyboards - releasing Blue Matter, Loud Jazz and Pick Hits Live. The mid-80's were also the time, when Marc Johnson assembled his first own ensemble Bass Desires with Peter Erskine on drums, and Bill Frisell beside Scofield as two guitarists of distinctive but complementing styles. This “most auspicious [pairing] since John McLaughlin and Carlos Santana” was only transitory and recorded just two records, the self-titled Bass Desires and Second Sight (1986 and 1987).
At the beginning of the 1990s, John Scofield formed his quartet that included Joe Lovano with whom he recorded several important albums for Blue Note Records. Time on My Hands (1990), with Joe Lovano, Charlie Haden and Jack DeJohnette, showcased John Scofield's guitar and Mingus-influenced writing. Bill Stewart subsequently became the group's drummer, and played on Meant to Be (1991) and What We Do (1993). In 1992, Scofield released Grace Under Pressure, featuring fellow guitarist Bill Frisell, with Charlie Haden on bass and Joey Baron on drums. Stewart rejoined with Scofield and bassist Steve Swallow for the 1994 collaboration with Pat Metheny, I Can See Your House from Here.
Towards the end of his tenure with Blue Note, John Scofield returned to a more funk and soul jazz-oriented sound, a direction which has dominated much of his subsequent output. In 1994 and 1995, Scofield formed a core group that included organist/pianist Larry Goldings, bassist Dennis Irwin, and alternately drummers, Bill Stewart and Idris Muhammad. The group toured extensively, and the albums Hand Jive and Groove Elation feature this funk/groove/soul-jazz dimension in Scofield's music, bringing in tenor saxophonist Eddie Harris, percussionist Don Alias, trumpeter Randy Brecker, and others. He recorded the acclaimed 1997 album A Go Go with the avant garde jazz trio Medeski, Martin & Wood. Also during this period, his relationship began with British composer Mark-Anthony Turnage. First as a soloist on Turnage's Blood on the Floor: Elegy for Andy, the two paired up to create Scorched, Turnage's orchestrations of Scofield compositions largely form the Blue Matter period. Scorched, a recording available on Deutsche Grammophon, debuted in Frankfurt, Germany.
He released Überjam in 2002 and Up All Night in 2004, two albums on which he experiments with drum n bass and other modern rhythms. John Scofield has also worked and recorded in Europe with nu-fusionist Bugge Wesseltoft New Conception of Jazz in 2001/2 and 2006. Late 2004 saw the release of EnRoute: John Scofield Trio LIVE, which features the jazz trio of John Scofield, the venerable Steve Swallow on bass and Bill Stewart on drums. It was recorded live at The Blue Note in NYC in December 2003. The next year, he released That's What I Say: John Scofield Plays the Music of Ray Charles - Scofield with an all-star guest studded collection of Ray Charles material. This led to a series of performances with Mavis Staples, Gary Versace on organ, John Benitez on bass, and Steve Hass on drums.
After sitting in for two engagements in December (3rd & 4th) of 2005 with Phil Lesh and Friends, Scofield has since played numerous shows with the band.
On September 26, 2006 he released Out Louder, his second collaborative effort album with avant garde jazz trio Medeski, Martin & Wood. The group, known collectively as MSMW toured extensively worldwide in 2006 and 2007, with sporadic engagements planned in the future. Scofield also performs as a duo with John Medeski - aptly named The Johns and another groove trio with Scofield, Medeski and drummer Adam Deitch.
September 18, 2007 saw This Meets That released on EmArcy Records - Universal Music's jazz label, a record featuring his trio with Steve Swallow and Bill Stewart. This time John added a horn section to expand the sound of his trio.
Never one to follow an expected path, in recent years Scofield launched a personal search for musical inspiration beyond the standard 12-bar blues and found it in "old time gospel music - the closest relative to and inspiration for the R&B.” His 2009 release Piety Street with bass legend George Porter, Jr. and singer/keyboardist Jon Cleary. The collaboration heard on the 2010 release 54 had its origins back in the 1990s when Vince Mendoza asked John Scofield to play on his first album. John has since been featured on two of Vince’s records and his guitar sound and improvisational skills work well within Mendoza's concept. When Mendoza assumed directorship of The Metropole Orchestra, he and Scofield decided to collaborate again with a primary focus on Mendoza’s arrangements of Scofield compositions as performed with The Metropole Orchestra.
In a return to Scofieldesque "straight ahead" jazz, he went to the studio in January 2011 with pianist/organist Larry Goldings, bassist Scott Colley and drummer Brian Blade, laying the tracks for a ballads album titled A Moment's Peace scheduled for a May 2011 release on EmArcy Records.
He married Susan Scofield in 1978. They are the parents of music producer Jean Scofield (born 1981) and Evan Scofield (1987–2013).
Scofield endorses Ibanez guitars. His signature guitar, the JSM100, is based on his longtime stage and recording guitar, a 1981 Ibanez AS200 which he believes to be one of the best semi-acoustics ever built. He gets his tone by running a Pro Co RAT through either a Vox AC30 or Mesa Boogie amplifier. Some of his effects include an Ibanez CS9 Analog Chorus, a Line 6 FM4 Filter Modeler, and a Line 6 DL4 Delay Modeler. Some of his additional effects include a DigiTech XP100 Whammy/Wah, a Boss EQ Pedal, a Boss Loop Station, and a Boomerang phrase sampler pedal. John Scofield uses Dunlop Delrin 2 mm picks.
As leader and co-leader
- John Scofield (Trio (J), 1978), re-released as East Meets West (Black Hawk, 1987)
- John Scofield Live (Enja, 1977)
- Rough House (Enja, 1978)
- Who's Who? (Arista Novus, 1979)
- Four Keys with Martial Solal, Lee Konitz and N.-H. Ørsted Pedersen (MPS, 1979)
- Bar Talk (Arista Novus, 1980)
- Shinola (Enja, 1981)
- Out Like a Light (Enja, 1981)
- Electric Outlet (Gramavision, 1984)
- Still Warm (Gramavision, 1985)
- Blue Matter (Gramavision, 1986)
- All Strings Attached with Tal Farlow, J. Abercrombie, L. Carlton and L. Coryell (Verve, 1986)
- Loud Jazz (Gramavision, 1987)
- Pick Hits Live (Gramavision, 1987)
- Flat Out (Gramavision, 1989)
- Time on My Hands (Blue Note, 1990)
- Meant to Be (Blue Note, 1991)
- Grace Under Pressure (Blue Note, 1992)
- What We Do (Blue Note, 1993)
- Hand Jive (Blue Note, 1994)
- I Can See Your House from Here, with Pat Metheny (Blue Note, 1994)
- Groove Elation (Blue Note, 1995)
- Quiet (Verve, 1996)
- A Go Go with Medeski Martin & Wood (Verve, 1998)
- Old Folks with Kenny Garrett, Michael Brecker and David Friesen (West Wind, 1999)
- Shortcuts - Jazzpar Combo 1999 with Hans Ulrik, Lars Danielsson and Peter Erskine (Stunt, 1999)
- Bump (Verve, 2000)
- Works for Me (Verve, 2001)
- Überjam (Verve, 2002)
- Oh! as ScoLoHoFo (Blue Note, 2003)
- Up All Night (Verve, 2003)
- Scorched with Mark-Anthony Turnage (DG (Deutsche Grammophon), 2004)
- John Scofield Trio LIVE EnRoute (Verve, 2004)
- That's What I Say: John Scofield Plays the Music of Ray Charles (Verve, 2005)
- Saudades as Trio Beyond (ECM, 2006)
- Out Louder as Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood (Indirecto, 2006)
- This Meets That (EmArcy, 2007)
- Piety Street (EmArcy, 2009)
- 54 with Vince Mendoza & Metropole Orchestra (EmArcy, 2010)
- A Moment's Peace (EmArcy, 2011)
- MSMW Live: In Case the World Changes Its Mind as Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood (EmArcy, 2011)
- Überjam Deux (EmArcy, 2013)
- Juice as Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood (Indirecto, 2014)
- Sco-Mule as Gov't Mule feat. John Scofield (Mascot, 2015)
- Past Present (Impulse!, 2015)
- Country for Old Men (Impulse!, 2016) (forthcoming)
- Slo Sco: The Best of the Ballads (Gramavision, 1990)
- Liquid Fire: The Best of John Scofield (Gramavision, 1994)
- Best of John Scofield (Blue Note, 1996)
- Steady Groovin': The Blue Note Groove Sides (Blue Note, 2000)
As a sideman
Albums listed alphabetically by group or artist's last name.
|1984||George Adams||More Sightings||Enja|
|1985||George Adams-Don Pullen Quartet||Live at Montmartre||Timeless|
|1988||Franco Ambrosetti||Movies Too||Enja|
|1988||Ray Anderson||Blues Bred in the Bone||Enja|
|1996||Teodross Avery||My Generation||Impulse!|
|1977||Chet Baker||You Can't Go Home Again||A&M|
|1977||Chet Baker||The Best Thing for You||A&M|
|1979||Joe Beck & Larry Coryell||Tributaries||Arista Novus|
|1989||Richie Beirach||Some Other Time||Triloka|
|1985||Paul Bley||Hot||Soul Note|
|1988||Gary Burton||Times Like These||GRP|
|1992||Gary Burton||Six Pack||GRP|
|1989||Terri Lyne Carrington||Real Life Story||Verve Forecast|
|1991||Dennis Chambers||Getting Even||Glass House/Pioneer (Japan)|
|1975||Billy Cobham||A Funky Thide of Sings||Atlantic|
|1976||Billy Cobham||Life & Times||Atlantic|
|1978||Billy Cobham||Inner Conflicts||Atlantic||J. S. on two tracks|
|1976||Billy Cobham & George Duke||Live on Tour in Europe"||Atlantic|
|1990||Bill Cosby & Friends||Where You Lay Your Head||Verve|
|1991||Lars Danielsson||Fresh Enough||L+R|
|1985||Miles Davis||You're Under Arrest||Columbia|
|1983||Miles Davis||Star People||Columbia|
|2002||Miles Davis||The Complete Miles Davis at Montreux 1973-1991||Warner Switzerland|
|1990||Joey DeFrancesco||Where Were You?||Columbia|
|1992||Jack DeJohnette||Music for the Fifth World||Capitol|
|2005||John Ellis||One Foot in the Swamp||Hyena|
|1991||Peter Erskine||Sweet Soul||Arista Novus|
|1994||David Friesen||Two for the Show||ITM Pacific|
|1979||Hal Galper||Ivory Forest||Enja|
|1988||Mike Gibbs Orchestra||Big Time||Venture|
|1981||Bill Goodwin||Solar Energy||Omni Sound Jazz|
|1999||Gov't Mule Featuring J. S.||Sco-Mule||Provogue||Released 2015|
|1977||Urbie Green||Señor Blues||CTI|
|1995||Herbie Hancock||The New Standard||Verve|
|1993||Jimmy Haslip||A R C||UMG|
|2003||Roy Haynes||Love Letters||Columbia|
|2010||Eddie Henderson||For All We Know||Furthermore|
|1993||Joe Henderson||So Near, So Far (Musings for Miles)||Verve|
|1997||Joe Henderson||Porgy & Bess||Verve|
|1999||Joe Henderson||Quiet Now: Lovesome Thing||Verve||J. S. on two tracks|
|1977||Terumasa Hino||May Dance||Flying Disk|
|1989||Terumasa Hino||Bluestruck||Blue Note|
|1986||Marc Johnson||Bass Desires||ECM|
|1987||Marc Johnson||Second Sight||ECM|
|2005||Marc Johnson||Shades of Jade||ECM|
|1991||Eero Koivistoinen||Altered Things||Timeless|
|1993||Lee Konitz||Rhapsody II||Evidence|
|1988||Niels Lan Doky||Daybreak||Storyville|
|2006||Phil Lesh and Friends||Live at the Warfield||Image|
|1979||Dave Liebman||Don't Do It Again||Timeless|
|1980||Dave Liebman||If They Only Knew||Timeless|
|1980||Dave Liebman||What It Is||Columbia|
|1990||Manhattan Jazz Quintet||Manhattan Blues||Sweet Basil|
|1987||Ron McClure||Home Base||ODE|
|1979||Jim McNeely||The Plot Thickens||Muse|
|1989||Jim McNeely with the WDR Big Band||East Coast Blow Out||Lipstick|
|1971||Jay McShann||Big Apple Bash||New World|
|1977||Charles Mingus||Three or Four Shades of Blues||Atlantic|
|1974||Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker||Carnegie Hall Concert||CTI|
|1988||Missing Links||Groovin||MCA||J. S. on two tracks|
|1986||L'Orchestre National du Jazz||Orchestre National du Jazz '86||Label Bleu|
|1979||Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen||Dancing on the Tables||Steeple Chase|
|1998||John Patitucci||Now||Concord Jazz|
|1983||Jim Pepper||Comin' and Goin'||Antilles|
|1992||Knut Riisnæs & Jon Christensen||Knut Riisnæs - Jon Christensen Featuring John Scofield - Palle Danielsson||Odin|
|1988||Tommy Smith||Step by Step||Blue Note|
|1999||Tommy Smith||Blue Smith||Linn|
|1990||Harvie Swartz||In a Different Light||Blue Moon|
|1989||Gary Thomas||By Any Means Necessary||JMT|
|1998||Mark-Anthony Turnage||Blood on the Floor||Decca|
|1989||McCoy Tyner||Things Ain't What They Used to Be||Blue Note|
|1978||Miroslav Vitous||Guardian Angels||Trio (Japan)|
|1984||Bennie Wallace||Sweeping Through the City||Enja|
|1985||Bennie Wallace||Twilight Time||Blue Note|
|1987||Bennie Wallace||Art of the Saxphone||Denon|
|1987||Bennie Wallace||Border Town||Blue Note|
|1979||Jack Walrath||Demons in Pursuit||Gatemouth|
|2003||Bugge Wesseltoft||New Conception of Jazz Live||Jazzland|
|1995||Lenny White||Present Tense||Hip Bop|
|2007||Keller Williams||Dream||SCI Fidelity|
- In 1998, John Scofield was granted the Miles Davis Award by the Montreal International Jazz Festival.
- In 2016, he won the Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Album for Past Present.
- Yanow, Scott (1951-12-26). "John Scofield". AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-10-18.
- "John Scofield Music, News and Photos - AOL Music". Music.aol.com. Retrieved 2013-07-05.
- Small, Mark. "BERKLEE | Berklee College of Music". Berklee.edu. Retrieved 2011-10-18.
- "All About Jazz Bio". Allaboutjazz.com. Retrieved 2011-10-18.
- Yanow, Scott. "Yahoo Music artist Bio". Music.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2011-10-18.
- Cf. John Scofield in an interview with John Kelman in 2011 for AllAboutJazz. Retrieved August 10, 2013
- Bass Desires at AllMusic. Retrieved November 11, 2012.
- "John Scofield - Jazz Guitarist & Composer". Johnscofield.com. Retrieved 2012-02-23.
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