John Scofield (born December 26, 1951), sometimes referred to as "Sco", is an American jazz-rock guitarist and composer whose music includes bebop, jazz fusion, funk, blues, soul, and rock. He has worked with Miles Davis, Dave Liebman, Joe Henderson, Charles Mingus, Joey DeFrancesco, Herbie Hancock, Eddie Palmieri, Pat Metheny, Bill Frisell, Joe Lovano, Pat Martino, Mavis Staples, Phil Lesh, Billy Cobham, Medeski Martin & Wood, George Duke, Jaco Pastorius, John Mayer, Robert Glasper, and Gov't Mule.
John Scofield, Moers Festival, Germany, 2006
|Born||December 26, 1951|
Dayton, Ohio, U.S.
|Genres||Jazz, jazz fusion, acid 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|
Scofield's family left Ohio and moved to Wilton, Connecticut, where he discovered his interest in music. Educated at the Berklee College of Music, Scofield 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. He recorded with Charles Mingus in 1976 and replaced Pat Metheny in Gary Burton's quartet.
In 1976 Scofield signed with Enja, which released his first album, John Scofield, in 1977. He recorded with pianist Hal Galper on Rough House in 1978 and then on Galper's album Ivory Forest (1980), where he played a solo rendition of "Monk's Mood" by Thelonious Monk. In 1979 he formed a trio with his mentor Steve Swallow and Adam Nussbaum which, with drummer Bill Stewart replacing Nussbaum, became 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 to three of Davis's albums, Star People, Decoy, and You're Under Arrest. After he left Davis, he released Electric Outlet (1984) and Still Warm (1985)
He started what is referred to as his Blue Matter Band, with Dennis Chambers on drums, Gary Grainger on bass, and Mitchel Forman, Robert Aries, or Jim Beard on keyboards. The band released the albums Blue Matter, Loud Jazz and Pick Hits Live. Marc Johnson formed Bass Desires with Peter Erskine, and Bill Frisell. This "most auspicious [pairing] since John McLaughlin and Carlos Santana" recorded two albums, Bass Desires (1986) and Second Sight (1987).
At the beginning of the 1990s, Scofield formed a quartet that included Joe Lovano with whom he recorded several albums for Blue Note. Time on My Hands (1990), with Joe Lovano, Charlie Haden, and Jack DeJohnette, showcased Scofield's guitar and Mingus-influenced writing. Bill Stewart 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 guitarist Bill Frisell, with Charlie Haden on bass and Joey Baron on drums. Stewart rejoined Scofield and Steve Swallow for I Can See Your House from Here, a collaboration with Pat Metheny.
Near the end of his time with Blue Note, Scofield returned to a sound that included more funk and soul jazz. In 1994 and 1995, he formed a group with 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 with tenor saxophonist Eddie Harris, percussionist Don Alias, and trumpeter Randy Brecker. He recorded the 1997 album A Go Go with avant-garde jazz trio Medeski, Martin & Wood.
Also during this period he began to work with British composer Mark-Anthony Turnage. He appeared as a soloist on Turnage's Blood on the Floor: Elegy for Andy. They collaborated on Scorched, an album of Turnage's orchestrations of Scofield's compositions, largely from the Blue Matter period. John Patitucci and Peter Erskine performed at the live premiere of Scorched at the Alte Oper in Frankfurt in September 2002 with the Radio-Symphony-Orchestra Frankfurt and the hr-Bigband. The performance was recorded and released by Deutsche Grammophon.
Scofield released Überjam in 2002 and Up All Night in 2004, two albums on which he experimented with drum and bass. He recorded in Europe with the Bugge Wesseltoft New Conception of Jazz in 2001–2002 and 2006. In 2004 EnRoute: John Scofield Trio LIVE was released with Steve Swallow on bass and Bill Stewart on drums. It was recorded live at the Blue Note Jazz Club in New York City in December 2003. This was followed the next year by That's What I Say: John Scofield Plays the Music of Ray Charles. This led to 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 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 colloaboration with Medeski, Martin & Wood. The group, known collectively as MSMW, toured worldwide in 2006 and 2007. Scofield performed in a duo with John Medeski named The Johns and in a trio with Medeski and drummer Adam Deitch. He recorded music inspired by gospel on the 2009 album Piety Street with Jon Cleary and George Porter Jr.
On September 18, 2007 EmArcy released This Meets That, an album recorded with Steve Swallow, Bill Stewart, and a horn trio. In 2011 EmArcy released A Moment's Peace, recorded with pianist Larry Goldings, bassist Scott Colley, and drummer Brian Blade. Scofield's 2010 album 54 had its origin in the 1990s when Vince Mendoza asked him to play on his first album. As director of the Metropole Orchestra, Mendoza collaborated with Scofield on arrangements of Scofield's compositions that were performed by the orchestra.
Awards and honors
- 1997: Honorary Doctorate of Music from Berklee
- 1998: Miles Davis Award, Montreal International Jazz Festival
- 2002: Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Jazz Album: Überjam
- 2004: Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Jazz Album: Scorched, and Best Jazz Instrumental Solo for "Wee"
- 2006: Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group: Trio Beyond - Saudades
- 2010: Grammy nomination for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album: 54 with Vince Mendoza & Metropole Orchestra
- 2010: Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, French Ministry of Culture
- 2016: Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Album: Past Present, and nominated for Best Improvised Jazz Solo: "Past Present"
- 2017: Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Album: Country for Old Men
- 2017: Grammy Award for Best Improvised Jazz Solo: I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry
As leader and co-leader
|1977||John Scofield Live||Quartet||Enja||Live recording from Munich|
|1978||John Scofield||Trio plus Terumasa Hino on two tracks||Trio (Jp)||Recorded in Tokyo; Re-released in the "West" as East Meets West on Black Hawk in 1987|
|1978||Rough House||Quartet as John Scofield Quartet||Enja|
|1979||Who's Who?||Quintet and two quartet tracks||Arista Novus||Re-released 1990 with the four originals from Bar Talk as bonus tracks|
|1980||Bar Talk||Trio w/ Steve Swallow and Adam Nussbaum||Arista Novus|
|1981||Shinola||Trio w/ Swallow and Nussbaum||Enja||Live recording from Munich|
|1981||Out Like a Light||Trio w/ Swallow and Nussbaum||Enja||Live recording, third day from the same concert venue as Shinola|
|1984||Electric Outlet||Quintet w/ David Sanborn and Ray Anderson||Gramavision||Scofield plays also bass and DMX drum machine|
|1984||Solar||with John Abercrombie, duos and three quartet tracks||Palo Alto|
|1986||Blue Matter||Quintet and sextet, first w/ Gary Grainger and Dennis Chambers||Gramavision|
|1987||Pick Hits Live||Quartet||Gramavision||Live recording|
|1990||Time on My Hands||Quartet w/ Joe Lovano||Blue Note||Acoustic, jazz oriented line-up introducing Bill Stewart|
|1991||Meant to Be||Quartet w/ Joe Lovano||Blue Note|
|1992||Grace Under Pressure||Quartet w/ Bill Frisell plus horn section on half of the tracks||Blue Note||Revision of Marc Johnson's Bass Desires|
|1993||What We Do||Quartet w/ Joe Lovano||Blue Note|
|1994||Hand Jive||Sextet||Blue Note||Soul and funk oriented again|
|1994||I Can See Your House from Here||with Pat Metheny, quartet||Blue Note|
|1995||Groove Elation||Quartet plus horn section and percussion||Blue Note||Scofield plays also acoustic guitar, Idris Muhammad's New Orleans rhythms throughout, heavy organ by Larry Goldings|
|1996||Quiet||Trio plus horn section,|
feat. Wayne Shorter on three tracks
|Verve||Scofield plays exclusively acoustic guitar, focus on arrangements, some light jazz waltzing and bossa nova, appropriate title|
|1998||A Go Go||with Medeski Martin & Wood||Verve||First collaboration with avant-jazz-funk organ trio|
|2000||Bump||Duo to quintet in altering constellations||Verve||Scofield plays acoustic guitar on some tracks and adds more sound effects, opens further up to (slightly) younger musicians like Tony Scherr, Kenny Wollesen and Mark De Gli Antoni introducing electronica|
|2001||Works for Me||Quintet w/ Kenny Garrett and Brad Mehldau||Verve||Contemporary post-bop line-up and repertoire|
|2002||Überjam||Überjam quartet up to sextet|
as The John Scofield Band
|Verve||New band, first time with Avi Bortnick and Adam Deitch plus John Medeski, even more effects, reaching into dub reggae, jungle grooves, rap and samples|
|2003||Oh!||as ScoLoHoFo w/ Joe Lovano, Dave Holland and Al Foster||Blue Note||Acoustic jazz quartet|
|2003||Up All Night||Überjam quartet plus horns|
as The John Scofield Band
|Verve||Überjam band with Andy Hess taking the bass|
|2004||Scorched||with Mark-Anthony Turnage||Deutsche Grammophon|
|2004||John Scofield Trio LIVE EnRoute||Trio w/ Swallow and Bill Stewart||Verve||Live recording|
|2005||That's What I Say: John Scofield Plays the Music of Ray Charles||Verve|
|2006||Saudades||as Trio Beyond w/ Larry Goldings and Jack DeJohnette||ECM||one-time Tony Williams tribute band|
|2006||Out Louder||as Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood||Indirecto||Follow-up to A Go Go from 1998|
|2007||This Meets That||Trio w/ Swallow and Bill Stewart plus horn section||EmArcy|
|2009||Piety Street||Quartet feat. vocals||EmArcy|
|2010||54||with Vince Mendoza & Metropole Orchestra||EmArcy|
|2011||A Moment's Peace||Quartet||EmArcy|
|2011||MSMW Live: In Case the World Changes Its Mind||as Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood||EmArcy||Live recording|
|2013||Überjam Deux||Überjam||EmArcy||Follow-up to Überjam from 2002 and Up All Night|
|2014||Juice||as Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood||Indirecto|
|2015||Past Present||Quartet w/ Joe Lovano||Impulse!|
|2016||Country for Old Men||Impulse!||Literally old men embracing country|
|2017||Hudson||with Jack DeJohnette, Larry Grenadier and John Medeski||Motéma|
As a sideman
Albums listed by year of release. (Links to artists and labels on first appearance.)
|1974||Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker||Carnegie Hall Concert||CTI|
|1975||Billy Cobham||A Funky Thide of Sings||Atlantic|
|1976||Billy Cobham||Life & Times||Atlantic|
|1976||Billy Cobham & George Duke||Live on Tour in Europe||Atlantic|
|1977||Chet Baker||You Can't Go Home Again||Horizon|
|1977||Charles Mingus||Three or Four Shades of Blues||Atlantic|
|1977||Urbie Green||Señor Blues||CTI|
|1977||Terumasa Hino||May Dance||Flying Disk|
|1977||Chet Baker||The Best Thing for You||A&M|
|1978||Billy Cobham||Inner Conflicts||Atlantic||Scofield on two tracks|
|1978||Jay McShann||The Last of the Blue Devils||Atlantic|
|1978||Miroslav Vitous||Guardian Angels||Trio (Japan)|
|1979||Dave Liebman||Doin' It Again||Timeless|
|1979||Jim McNeely||The Plot Thickens||Muse|
|1979||Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen||Dancing on the Tables||SteepleChase|
|1979||Jay McShann||The Big Apple Bash||Atlantic|
|1979||Martial Solal, Lee Konitz, John Scofield, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen||Four Keys||MPS|
|1979||Jack Walrath||Demons in Pursuit||Gatemouth|
|1979||Larry Coryell||Tributaries||Arista Novus|
|1979||Joe Beck & Larry Coryell||Tributaries||Arista Novus|
|1979||Hal Galper||Ivory Forest||Enja|
|1980||Dave Liebman||If They Only Knew||Timeless|
|1980||Dave Liebman||What It Is||Columbia|
|1981||Bill Goodwin||Solar Energy||Omni Sound Jazz|
|1983||Miles Davis||Star People||Columbia|
|1983||Jim Pepper||Comin' and Goin'||Antilles|
|1984||George Adams||More Sightings||Enja|
|1984||Eero Koivistoinen||Picture in Three Colours||Pro||Three further tracks of this 1983 session in New York were released by the Finnish Rytmi magazine|
|1984||Bennie Wallace||Sweeping Through the City||Enja|
|Miles Davis||The Complete Miles Davis at Montreux 1973–1991||Warner Switzerland||Scofield on seven of the 20 cd box set released in 2002|
|1985||Miles Davis||You're Under Arrest||Columbia|
|1985||George Adams-Don Pullen Quartet||Live at Montmartre||Timeless|
|1985||Paul Bley||Hot||Soul Note|
|1985||Bennie Wallace||Twilight Time||Blue Note|
|1986||Tal Farlow, John Abercrombie, Larry Carlton, Larry Coryell, John Scofield, John Patitucci & Billy Hart||All Strings Attached||Verve||Part of the 1986 concert series Jazzvisions: Made in America in Los Angeles|
|1986||Marc Johnson||Bass Desires||ECM|
|1986||L'Orchestre National du Jazz||Orchestre National du Jazz '86||Label Bleu|
|1987||Ron McClure||Home Base||ODE|
|1987||Bennie Wallace||Art of the Saxophone||Denon|
|1987||Bennie Wallace||Border Town||Blue Note|
|1987||Marc Johnson||Second Sight||ECM|
|1988||Franco Ambrosetti||Movies Too||Enja|
|1988||Ray Anderson||Blues Bred in the Bone||Enja|
|1988||Gary Burton||Times Like These||GRP|
|1988||Tommy Smith||Step by Step||Blue Note|
|1988||Missing Links||Groovin||MCA||Scofield on two tracks|
|1988||Mike Gibbs Orchestra||Big Time||Venture|
|1988||Niels Lan Doky||Daybreak||Storyville|
|1989||Richie Beirach||Some Other Time||Triloka|
|1989||Terri Lyne Carrington||Real Life Story||Verve Forecast|
|1989||Jim McNeely w/the WDR Big Band||East Coast Blow Out||Lipstick||Released 1991 and reissued in 2014 on Jazzline|
|1989||Gary Thomas||By Any Means Necessary||JMT|
|1989||McCoy Tyner||Things Ain't What They Used to Be||Blue Note|
|1989||Terumasa Hino||Bluestruck||Blue Note|
|1990||Bill Cosby & Friends||Where You Lay Your Head||Verve|
|1990||Joey DeFrancesco||Where Were You?||Columbia|
|1990||Manhattan Jazz Quintet||Manhattan Blues||Sweet Basil|
|1990||Harvie Swartz||In a Different Light||Blue Moon|
|1991||Lars Danielsson||Fresh Enough||L+R|
|1991||Dennis Chambers||Getting Even||Glass House/Pioneer (Jp)|
|1991||Peter Erskine||Sweet Soul||Arista Novus|
|1991||Mike Gibbs Band||Symphony Hall, Birmingham 1991||Dusk Fire||Released in 2018|
|1991||Eero Koivistoinen||Altered Things||Timeless|
|1992||Gary Burton||Six Pack||GRP|
|1992||Jack DeJohnette||Music for the Fifth World||Capitol|
|1992||Knut Riisnæs & Jon Christensen||Knut Riisnæs – Jon Christensen Featuring John Scofield – Palle Danielsson||Odin|
|1993||Lee Konitz||Rhapsody II||Evidence|
|1993||Jimmy Haslip||A R C||UMG|
|1993||Joe Henderson||So Near, So Far (Musings for Miles)||Verve|
|1994||David Friesen||Two for the Show||ITM Pacific|
|1995||Herbie Hancock||The New Standard||Verve|
|1995||Lenny White||Present Tense||Hip Bop|
|1996||Teodross Avery||My Generation||Impulse!|
|1997||Gary Burton||Departure||Concord Jazz|
|1997||Joe Henderson||Porgy & Bess||Verve|
|1997||Chris Potter||Unspoken||Concord Jazz|
|1998||Mark-Anthony Turnage||Blood on the Floor||Decca|
|1998||John Patitucci||Now||Concord Jazz|
|1999||Kenny Garrett/John Scofield/Michael Brecker/David Friesen||Old Folks||West Wind||Scofield on two tracks|
|1999||Shortcuts - Jazzpar Combo 1999||Hans Ulrik, Lars Danielsson and Peter Erskine||Stunt|
|1999||Joe Henderson||Quiet Now: Lovesome Thing||Verve||Scofield on two tracks|
|1999||Tommy Smith||Blue Smith||Linn|
|1999||Gov't Mule Featuring John Scofield||Sco-Mule||Provogue||Released 2015|
|2002||Chris Potter||Traveling Mercies||Verve|
|2003||Roy Haynes||Love Letters||Columbia|
|2003||Bugge Wesseltoft||New Conception of Jazz Live||Jazzland|
|2005||Marc Johnson||Shades of Jade||ECM|
|2005||John Ellis||One Foot in the Swamp||Hyena|
|2006||Phil Lesh and Friends||Live at the Warfield||Image|
|2007||Keller Williams||Dream||SCI Fidelity|
|2010||Eddie Henderson||For All We Know||Furthermore|
- Stern, Chip (March 2001). "John Scofield: Will the Real John Scofield Please Stand Up?". JazzTimes. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
- "John Scofield Music, News and Photos - AOL Music". Music.aol.com. Archived from the original on 2012-12-02. Retrieved 2013-07-05.
- Small, Mark. "BERKLEE | Berklee College of Music". Berklee.edu. Retrieved 2011-10-18.
- "All About Jazz Bio". Allaboutjazz.com. Archived from the original on 2008-09-05. Retrieved 2011-10-18.
- Yanow, Scott. "Yahoo Music artist Bio". Music.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2011-10-18.
- Yanow, Scott. "Ivory Forest - Hal Galper, Hal Galper Quartet". AllMusic. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
- "John Scofield Trio featuring Steve Swallow & Bill Stewart". Jazz St. Louis. Archived from the original on 28 September 2012. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
- 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.
- Cole, Tom (27 December 2015). "For John Scofield, Everything Old Is New Again — Even The Hard Parts". NPR. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
- Cf. credits on album.
- Tamarkin, Jeff. "Out Louder - Medeski, Scofield, Martin & Wood". AllMusic. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
- "Jazz Faculty: John Scofield". Steinhardt School of Education. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
- "John Scofield". GRAMMY.com. June 4, 2019.
- "The 50 GIANTS of Jazz Guitar in alphabetical order – Saban Jazz & Bossa School". Retrieved 2019-02-20.