John Scofield A Go Go on 180g Import LP
Featuring Medeski, Martin & Wood!
A trailblazer of jazz in the ‘80s, a perennial poll winner, bandleader, master improvisor, composer and major player in the music arena; John Scofield brought groove music to its knees on his second Verve recording, 1997's A Go Go. Accompanying the guitar great on this syncopated summit meeting are the premiere groove merchants of the neo-funk scene, Medeski, Martin & Wood. Together they fashioned a collective groove that drives shake-that-thing funk to the core without sacrificing an ounce of satisfaction for the brain.
An organic session that hangs together on a mutual love of groove-oriented music, A Go Go stands as Scofield’s beat manifesto. “A Go Go is a phrase that reminds me of what the rock ‘n’ roll movement was when I first started checking out music,” he recalls. Whiskey A Go Go, Cafe A Go Go in New York - all tied into my first cognizant thoughts about rhythm."
The guitarist has high praise for his young collaborators on this session. “Each member of MMW is a stellar musician on his own but together, they’re unbeatable. I’m a drum fanatic - and Billy Martin’s got a groove and a half. Chris Woods, the bass player, always plays the right thing every time. John Medeski is amazing. He can cover so much and sound like two musicians at the same time. He’s definitely in the tradition of the great jazz organ players but the result is different because he’s such an original.”
“Scofield’s really got that fat eigthth note thing happening,” says Medeski, “and I think it comes out of loving New Orleans music. You don’t hear a lot of that these days but he’s an absolute master of it. He did his thing and we played his music the way we play, trying to a little vibe within the framework of each tune.”
“He’s also got a really nice rhythmic feel,” adds Martin. “For a drummer, that’s great, because I could just get the feel from his playing. It was a very simple, natural process in that way. His affinity for groove music really made a great connection.”
“We’ve (MMW) been together so long that we’ve developed our own kind of language,” notes Wood. “He was wide open to that. He’d show you an idea and then want you to play it in your own way. He’s definitely aware of the personality factor in making music together. Plus, John was going for a raw sound, which fits into our thing pretty well.”
“The nasty factor is a special thing that the guitar can do and it’s something that I enjoy doing too,” Scofield acknowledged. From the cosmic-earthy title track, through the infectious groover "Chank," the bent-string bite of "Hottentot" and "Boozer" and the heated slinkiness of "Southern Pacific" and "Chicken Dog," that nasty quality comes across no-holds-barred throughout A Go Go. Still firmly within the funk and groove genre, Scofield puncuates the passion with auditory reststops; the eerie soundscapes "Kubrick" and "Deadzy," the subtle and subdued "Green Tea" and the bright, joyous "Jeep on 35."
From the sublime to the gritty, Scofield forays into the A Go Go funk and groove genre with electrifying results. “I’m bringing some of the elements of my playing back into the foreground with a new ‘90s attitude,” says Scofield. “I loved making this record.”
John Scofield (guitar)
John Medeski (organ, clavinet, piano)
Chris Wood (bass)
Billy Martin (drums)
John Scofield A Go Go Track Listing:
1. A Go Go
4. Southern Pacific
5. Jeep On 35
7. Green Tea
9. Chicken Dog