John Scofield

John Scofield (born December 26, 1951),[2] sometimes referred to as "Sco", is an American jazz-rock guitarist and composer whose music includes bebop, jazz fusion, funk, blues, soul, and rock.[1] 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.[3]

John Scofield
John Scofield, Moers Festival, Germany, 2006
Background information
Born (1951-12-26) December 26, 1951
Dayton, Ohio, U.S.
GenresJazz, jazz fusion, acid jazz[1]
Occupation(s)Musician, composer
Years active1970s–present
LabelsEnja, Gramavision, Blue Note, Verve, EmArcy
Associated actsMiles 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.[4] 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.[5]

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.[6] 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.[7]

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.[8] 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"[9] 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.[10] 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.[11]

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.[12] 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.

Scofield has been an adjunct faculty member in the Jazz Department in the Steinhardt School of Education at New York University.[13]

Awards and honors


As leader and co-leader

Date Album title Line-up Label Notes
1977John Scofield LiveQuartetEnjaLive recording from Munich
1978John ScofieldTrio plus Terumasa Hino on two tracksTrio (Jp)Recorded in Tokyo; Re-released in the "West" as East Meets West on Black Hawk in 1987
1978Rough HouseQuartet as John Scofield QuartetEnja
1979Who's Who?Quintet and two quartet tracksArista NovusRe-released 1990 with the four originals from Bar Talk as bonus tracks
1980Bar TalkTrio w/ Steve Swallow and Adam NussbaumArista Novus
1981ShinolaTrio w/ Swallow and NussbaumEnjaLive recording from Munich
1981Out Like a LightTrio w/ Swallow and NussbaumEnjaLive recording, third day from the same concert venue as Shinola
1984Electric OutletQuintet w/ David Sanborn and Ray AndersonGramavisionScofield plays also bass and DMX drum machine
1984Solarwith John Abercrombie, duos and three quartet tracksPalo Alto
1985Still WarmQuartetGramavision
1986Blue MatterQuintet and sextet, first w/ Gary Grainger and Dennis ChambersGramavision
1987Loud JazzQuintetGramavision
1987Pick Hits LiveQuartetGramavisionLive recording
1989Flat OutQuintetGramavision
1990Time on My HandsQuartet w/ Joe LovanoBlue NoteAcoustic, jazz oriented line-up introducing Bill Stewart
1991Meant to BeQuartet w/ Joe LovanoBlue Note
1992Grace Under PressureQuartet w/ Bill Frisell plus horn section on half of the tracksBlue NoteRevision of Marc Johnson's Bass Desires
1993What We DoQuartet w/ Joe LovanoBlue Note
1994Hand JiveSextetBlue NoteSoul and funk oriented again
1994I Can See Your House from Herewith Pat Metheny, quartetBlue Note
1995Groove ElationQuartet plus horn section and percussionBlue NoteScofield plays also acoustic guitar, Idris Muhammad's New Orleans rhythms throughout, heavy organ by Larry Goldings
1996QuietTrio plus horn section,
feat. Wayne Shorter on three tracks
VerveScofield plays exclusively acoustic guitar, focus on arrangements, some light jazz waltzing and bossa nova, appropriate title
1998A Go Gowith Medeski Martin & WoodVerveFirst collaboration with avant-jazz-funk organ trio
2000BumpDuo to quintet in altering constellationsVerveScofield 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
2001Works for MeQuintet w/ Kenny Garrett and Brad MehldauVerveContemporary post-bop line-up and repertoire
2002ÜberjamÜberjam quartet up to sextet
as The John Scofield Band
VerveNew band, first time with Avi Bortnick and Adam Deitch plus John Medeski, even more effects, reaching into dub reggae, jungle grooves, rap and samples
2003Oh!as ScoLoHoFo w/ Joe Lovano, Dave Holland and Al FosterBlue NoteAcoustic jazz quartet
2003Up All NightÜberjam quartet plus horns
as The John Scofield Band
VerveÜberjam band with Andy Hess taking the bass
2004Scorchedwith Mark-Anthony TurnageDeutsche Grammophon
2004John Scofield Trio LIVE EnRouteTrio w/ Swallow and Bill StewartVerveLive recording
2005That's What I Say: John Scofield Plays the Music of Ray CharlesVerve
2006Saudadesas Trio Beyond w/ Larry Goldings and Jack DeJohnetteECMone-time Tony Williams tribute band
2006Out Louderas Medeski Scofield Martin & WoodIndirectoFollow-up to A Go Go from 1998
2007This Meets ThatTrio w/ Swallow and Bill Stewart plus horn sectionEmArcy
2009Piety StreetQuartet feat. vocalsEmArcy
201054with Vince Mendoza & Metropole OrchestraEmArcy
2011A Moment's PeaceQuartetEmArcy
2011MSMW Live: In Case the World Changes Its Mindas Medeski Scofield Martin & WoodEmArcyLive recording
2013Überjam DeuxÜberjamEmArcyFollow-up to Überjam from 2002 and Up All Night
2014Juiceas Medeski Scofield Martin & WoodIndirecto
2015Past PresentQuartet w/ Joe LovanoImpulse!
2016Country for Old MenImpulse!Literally old men embracing country
2017Hudsonwith Jack DeJohnette, Larry Grenadier and John MedeskiMotéma
2018Combo 66Verve


As a sideman

Albums listed by year of release. (Links to artists and labels on first appearance.)

Date Artist Album title Label Notes
1974Gary MarksGatheringArewea
1974Gerry Mulligan and Chet BakerCarnegie Hall ConcertCTI
1975Billy CobhamA Funky Thide of SingsAtlantic
1976Billy CobhamLife & TimesAtlantic
1976Billy Cobham & George DukeLive on Tour in EuropeAtlantic
1977Chet BakerYou Can't Go Home AgainHorizon
1977Charles MingusThree or Four Shades of BluesAtlantic
1977Jeremy SteigFireflyCTI
1977Urbie GreenSeñor BluesCTI
1977Terumasa HinoMay DanceFlying Disk
1977Chet BakerThe Best Thing for YouA&M
1978Billy CobhamInner ConflictsAtlanticScofield on two tracks
1978Jay McShannThe Last of the Blue DevilsAtlantic
1978Miroslav VitousGuardian AngelsTrio (Japan)
1979Dave LiebmanDoin' It AgainTimeless
1979Jim McNeelyThe Plot ThickensMuse
1979Niels-Henning Ørsted PedersenDancing on the TablesSteepleChase
1979Jay McShannThe Big Apple BashAtlantic
1979Zbigniew SeifertPassionCapitol
1979Martial Solal, Lee Konitz, John Scofield, Niels-Henning Ørsted PedersenFour KeysMPS
1979Jack WalrathDemons in PursuitGatemouth
1979Larry CoryellTributariesArista Novus
1979Joe Beck & Larry CoryellTributariesArista Novus
1979Hal GalperIvory ForestEnja
1980Dave LiebmanIf They Only KnewTimeless
1980Dave LiebmanWhat It IsColumbia
1980Ron McClureDescendantsKen
1981Bill GoodwinSolar EnergyOmni Sound Jazz
1982Peter WarrenSolidarityJAPO
1983Miles DavisStar PeopleColumbia
1983Jim PepperComin' and Goin'Antilles
1984George AdamsMore SightingsEnja
1984Miles DavisDecoyColumbia
1984Eero KoivistoinenPicture in Three ColoursProThree further tracks of this 1983 session in New York were released by the Finnish Rytmi magazine
1984Bennie WallaceSweeping Through the CityEnja
Miles DavisThe Complete Miles Davis at Montreux 1973–1991Warner SwitzerlandScofield on seven of the 20 cd box set released in 2002
1985Miles DavisYou're Under ArrestColumbia
1985George Adams-Don Pullen QuartetLive at MontmartreTimeless
1985Paul BleyHotSoul Note
1985Bennie WallaceTwilight TimeBlue Note
1986Tal Farlow, John Abercrombie, Larry Carlton, Larry Coryell, John Scofield, John Patitucci & Billy HartAll Strings AttachedVervePart of the 1986 concert series Jazzvisions: Made in America in Los Angeles
1986Marc JohnsonBass DesiresECM
1986L'Orchestre National du JazzOrchestre National du Jazz '86Label Bleu
1987Franco AmbrosettiMoviesEnja
1987Ron McClureHome BaseODE
1987Bennie WallaceArt of the SaxophoneDenon
1987Bennie WallaceBorder TownBlue Note
1987Roberto GattoAskInak
1987Marc JohnsonSecond SightECM
1988Franco AmbrosettiMovies TooEnja
1988Ray AndersonBlues Bred in the BoneEnja
1988Gary BurtonTimes Like TheseGRP
1988Tommy SmithStep by StepBlue Note
1988Missing LinksGroovinMCAScofield on two tracks
1988Mike Gibbs OrchestraBig TimeVenture
1988Tom HarrellStoriesContemporary
1988Niels Lan DokyDaybreakStoryville
1989Richie BeirachSome Other TimeTriloka
1989Terri Lyne CarringtonReal Life StoryVerve Forecast
1989Jim McNeely w/the WDR Big BandEast Coast Blow OutLipstickReleased 1991 and reissued in 2014 on Jazzline
1989Gary ThomasBy Any Means NecessaryJMT
1989McCoy TynerThings Ain't What They Used to BeBlue Note
1989Terumasa HinoBluestruckBlue Note
1990Bill Cosby & FriendsWhere You Lay Your HeadVerve
1990Joey DeFrancescoWhere Were You?Columbia
1990Manhattan Jazz QuintetManhattan BluesSweet Basil
1990Harvie SwartzIn a Different LightBlue Moon
1990Benny GolsonRhythmstickCTI
1991Lars DanielssonFresh EnoughL+R
1991Dennis ChambersGetting EvenGlass House/Pioneer (Jp)
1991Peter ErskineSweet SoulArista Novus
1991Mike Gibbs BandSymphony Hall, Birmingham 1991Dusk FireReleased in 2018
1991Eero KoivistoinenAltered ThingsTimeless
1991Steve SwallowSwallowXtraWATT
1992Gary BurtonSix PackGRP
1992Jack DeJohnetteMusic for the Fifth WorldCapitol
1992Knut Riisnæs & Jon ChristensenKnut Riisnæs – Jon Christensen Featuring John Scofield – Palle DanielssonOdin
1993Lee KonitzRhapsody IIEvidence
1993Jimmy HaslipA R CUMG
1993Joe HendersonSo Near, So Far (Musings for Miles)Verve
1994David FriesenTwo for the ShowITM Pacific
1995Ray DrummondContinuumArabesque
1995Herbie HancockThe New StandardVerve
1995Ron HollowayStruttinMilestone
1995Lenny WhitePresent TenseHip Bop
1996Teodross AveryMy GenerationImpulse!
1997Gary BurtonDepartureConcord Jazz
1997Joe HendersonPorgy & BessVerve
1997Chris PotterUnspokenConcord Jazz
1998Mark-Anthony TurnageBlood on the FloorDecca
1998John PatitucciNowConcord Jazz
1999Kenny Garrett/John Scofield/Michael Brecker/David FriesenOld Folks West WindScofield on two tracks
1999Shortcuts - Jazzpar Combo 1999Hans Ulrik, Lars Danielsson and Peter ErskineStunt
1999Joe HendersonQuiet Now: Lovesome ThingVerveScofield on two tracks
1999Tommy SmithBlue SmithLinn
1999Gov't Mule Featuring John ScofieldSco-MuleProvogueReleased 2015
2000Jon GordonPossibilitiesDouble-Time
2001MetalwoodThe ReclineVerve
2002Chris PotterTraveling MerciesVerve
2003Roy HaynesLove LettersColumbia
2003Bugge WesseltoftNew Conception of Jazz LiveJazzland
2005Marc JohnsonShades of JadeECM
2005John EllisOne Foot in the SwampHyena
2006Phil Lesh and FriendsLive at the WarfieldImage
2007Keller WilliamsDreamSCI Fidelity
2010Eddie HendersonFor All We KnowFurthermore


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  2. "John Scofield Music, News and Photos - AOL Music". Archived from the original on 2012-12-02. Retrieved 2013-07-05.
  3. Small, Mark. "BERKLEE | Berklee College of Music". Retrieved 2011-10-18.
  4. "All About Jazz Bio". Archived from the original on 2008-09-05. Retrieved 2011-10-18.
  5. Yanow, Scott. "Yahoo Music artist Bio". Retrieved 2011-10-18.
  6. Yanow, Scott. "Ivory Forest - Hal Galper, Hal Galper Quartet". AllMusic. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  7. "John Scofield Trio featuring Steve Swallow & Bill Stewart". Jazz St. Louis. Archived from the original on 28 September 2012. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  8. Cf. John Scofield in an interview with John Kelman in 2011 for AllAboutJazz. Retrieved August 10, 2013
  9. Bass Desires at AllMusic. Retrieved November 11, 2012.
  10. Cole, Tom (27 December 2015). "For John Scofield, Everything Old Is New Again — Even The Hard Parts". NPR. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  11. Cf. credits on album.
  12. Tamarkin, Jeff. "Out Louder - Medeski, Scofield, Martin & Wood". AllMusic. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  13. "Jazz Faculty: John Scofield". Steinhardt School of Education. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  14. "John Scofield". June 4, 2019.
  15. "The 50 GIANTS of Jazz Guitar in alphabetical order – Saban Jazz & Bossa School". Retrieved 2019-02-20.
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