Feb 142024
john scofield

Peripatetic guitar legend John Scofield describes himself as a “Road Dog”, someone who spends his life on the road, figuratively playing concerts all over the world and metaphorically moving between genres. In the 2022 documentary Inside Scofield he noted that he loved being close to New York City, so a short trip from his home to record for the Stephen Colbert’s Late Show with Louis Cato’s house band would not be a chore. Their rendition of “I Don’t Need No Doctor” is a testament to Scofield’s long love of Ray Charles’ music.

Cato and his band make this funky from the outset.  Once the blues base has been established, Cato brings in the vocals, not often heard on the show but marvellous nevertheless. The band keeps the rhythm, and party, going. When Scofield’s solo is teed up he works from his wide palette, the blues are there but the phrasing is frequently from jazz fusion, and there are even rock licks to keep everyone on their toes. It is fluid and masterful, and one can see the appreciation of his fellow musicians, particularly Cato, who intently monitors the maestro at work. He even gets the chance to trade phrases with Scofield in an improv moment, Cato staying closer to the blues and rock and Scofield adding sympathetic licks from his repertoire. The joy on everyone’s faces at the joy of creation and empathy is beautiful to watch.

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