Scofield drives some folks crazy. His last few records have stretched the boundries of funky jazz about as far as they can go. And with this one, he’s added more electronic flourishes and hip-hop rhythms that make some old fans clamor for a lightly-chorused be-bop solo.
I’m not one of those. I’ve been a Scofield fan for 15 years, and he always seems to do something interesting. And this one’s no exception.
I’m not sure how to describe what happens here. There are lots of sounds; Backward guitars, scratching noises, wails, and everything in-between. Scofield manages to ride over all that and fit in perfectly. In fact, the very-odd, light-funk of “Creeper” puts his chops in full view. It’s a great-sounding tune with a very apt title. “Thikhathali” is a cool offbeat funk with paper thin funky rhythm guitar that mixes with a world-music beat. And the mix is breathtaking. Scofield stretches out on a cover of the great ’71 Dramatics hit “Whatcha See is Whatcha Get.” His tone is great, and he pours out chorus after chorus of imaginative solo on what is, basically, a pretty simple tune. “Born In Troubled Times” is a nice, airy jazz piece that he turns into what reminds me of an old saxophone “bar walkers.” There are honks, squeaks, and everything-in-between. A fun cut.
There are things here that may leave you scratching your head. “I’m Listening” is a bit hard to get into, as is “Watch Out for Po Po.” Still, the album is excellent. Any fan of Scofield’s will love it. Any fan of players who stretch out and find new things should be more than happy with it.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Oct ’03 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.