Wednesday, May 13, 2009

John Scofield sings the praises

I'm not an overly religious man. I don't attend church regularly and don't have a crucifix hanging anywhere in my house. Regardless, there's something about gospel music that hits me hard, Maybe it's its intensity and sincerity. Maybe the genuine messages and earnest roots which spawned it. Maybe it's its lack of pretentiousness. Whatever it is, I enjoy it.

That being said, when you take gospel and mix it with some blues, the result is an album that really does it for me. That's where John Scofield's latest album Piety Street comes in. If you're not familiar with Scofield's name, that's alright, that's what this post is about. Let me lead of by telling you he's played his guitar with the likes of Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Gerry Mulligan, Chet Baker, and Herbie Hancock, among many others. At this point you're hopefully getting the idea that the man is an insane jazz guitarist who's skills run the gamut from bebop to blues to jazz-funk to ______ (fill in the blank with a whole list of genres).

As hinted at above, his latest album incorporates his blues' skills with a repertoire of gospel songs which really lights my devotional candle. His guitar chops add a liveliness to these songs, many of them traditionals, that will get you out of the pew and dancing in the aisle. Not to say that they're hokey or heretical, just full of spirit that's hard to deny. Carrying these tunes is his electric blues guitar playing that's very reminicscent of some of Eric Clapton's work. Check out the rollicking opening track, his version of the classic Dorothy Love Coates song That's Enough.

Visit his website, his label Emarcy Records, and become his friend on MySpace.

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