JOHN SCOFIELD — A Moment's Peace (review)

JOHN SCOFIELD — A Moment's Peace album cover Album · 2011 · Post-Fusion Contemporary Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
js
Its been a while since I checked out a new John Scofield release, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect since he can be fairly eclectic anyway. After a few minutes of ‘A Moment’s Peace’ I thought I had it figured out, it sounded like a familiar formula for today’s ‘Contemporary’ genre, a polite mix of post-bop and mellow smooth jazz for non-obtrusive intelligent background music. I’m glad I kept listening because what we have here is much better than just sophisticated aural wallpaper. Like Chet Baker, Peggy Lee, and the ‘cool’ side of Miles, Scofield keeps things relaxed, but you can tell there is plenty of fire smoldering just beneath.

One of the big pluses with ‘Moment’s Peace’ is the abundance of fine memorable melodies, something that is often lacking from more generic contemporary jazz. Scofield chooses his tunes wisely, mixing some classic ballads with his own originals and a couple recent pop ‘new-standards‘. Some of the tunes are pretty and sentimental without being maudlin, while others are in a relaxed bluesy hard bop style. This mixture of sophisticated pop and jazz blues works well because if the CD had too much of one or the other style it would be far less interesting. The rhythm section gets a little free on some of the hard bop tunes recalling another classic relaxed free-range blues bop guitar album, McLaughlin’s ‘Extrapolations’.

Although the mood on here remains relaxed, all of the musicians play with a sense of creative integrity, as well as a playful sense of humor. Its that lack of ironic urbane humor that makes much of contemporary jazz pale in comparison to the great musical wits of the Charlie Parkers and Duke Ellingtons.

This is a great CD, there is plenty of ‘real jazz’ for the bohemian inclined, and enough recognizable ‘music’ for the casual listener, possibly the ultimate CD for a jazz lover and non-fan to enjoy together.
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