Guitarist John Scofield gets his kicks with his new Combo 66


John Scofield decided to celebrate his 66th birthday by doing what he does best. The jazz guitar great launched a new band, bringing together a multigenerational ensemble that combines longtime comrades in funk and newly forged friends. Featured on his recently released Verve/Universal Music album of the same name, Combo 66 is built on Sco’s three-decade relationship with drummer Bill Stewart, a quietly sensational musician who combines fierce intelligence with a pocket so deep that the guitarist’s grooves feel etched in red Mississippi clay. “A lot of musicians can’t pull off that combination,” says Scofield, who performs with Combo 66 at Kuumbwa Jazz Center Oct. 17 and the SFJazz Center Oct. 21. “For Bill, the heady stuff is not that hard. There’s a certain ease for him that you can feel.”

Stewart recommended the brilliant bassist Vicente Archer, his bandmate in trumpeter Nicolas Payton’s stripped down trio. “They’re jazz masters, and they can play funky, a direction that a lot of my stuff goes,” Scofield says. “Vicente’s got that walking thing that’s really important. A lot of bassists don’t realize how much that propulsion means, the subtlety and difficulty of doing it well.”

The youngest member of the band is 34-year-old Los Angeles pianist Gerald Clayton, who made his reputation as one of his generation’s most resourceful players in straight-ahead settings. With Sco, he’s getting a chance to explore some low-down territory. “He’s just so talented and swinging, plus he loves to stretch out and be adventurous,” Scofield says. “He’s really getting into the organ. He’s mostly playing piano, but he’s finding himself on it every day, about 30 percent of every gig. To meet people his age that have his roots and want to play whatever comes up is amazing.”

Details: 7 and 9 p.m. Oct. 17, Kuumbwa Jazz Center, Santa …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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