Check out my new interview with Jaimoe, a founding member of the Allman Brothers Band.
2013 UPDATE: You can now download the audio of this interview, or stream it here
John Scofield is one of the world’s most influential and respected guitarists, a musician and composer who has worked with many of the greatest names in jazz: Chet Baker, Gary Burton, Billy Cobham, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Charles Mingus, Gerry Mulligan and scores of others. His 30 plus solo recordings have taken his fans on a remarkably wide-ranging musical journey – from straight ahead jazz, bebop, and fusion, to funky experimental outings with Medeski, Scofield, Martin, and Wood, and even gospel jazz fusion with his Piety Street Band. On his current album 54 (Emarcy, 2010), he is backed by a 50 plus piece orchestra, complete with strings, harps, brass, and woodwinds, and, as always, he somehow manages to play in a way that appeals to jazz aficionados and discerning guitarheads.
Fans of Soulive, Phil Lesh & Friends, Govt. Mule, and John Mayer are well aware that John Scofield is an exciting and soulful player, and this ability to be true to himself as a serious jazz artist, while also appealing to rock, R&B, and blues fans is what makes him so special. After watching him (@ Moogis.com) blow the roof off the Beacon when he sat in with the Allman Brothers Band on March 18, 2011, I thought it would be fascinating to talk to this jazz icon about coming of age in the ’60s & ’70s and get his take on the icons of blues rock. So this interview was conducted just a few days after that event.
Regular readers of this blog know that I publish my interviews on All About Jazz, but this year a major retrospective interview with John Scofield was already planned for the later part of 2011 to coincide with the release of his upcoming album A Moments Peace (Emarcy, 2011.) Nevertheless, he graciously agreed to this interview on blues rock guitar for Jazzamatazz, and I resisted the urge to ask him about jazz and his work with Miles and the other jazz greats – we can all look forward to that later this year on All About Jazz. Meanwhile, if you see any names you don’t recognize, or any of your favorites, be sure to check the hyper-links – there are even links to posters of concerts John saw as a high school student.
Jazzamatazz: First, as a blues fan I want to tell you how much I love your album Piety Street (2009, Universal Music). It’s one of those recordings where everything just seems to have fit together perfectly, from the material and musicians down to the great cover art. And the fact that you decided to do a gospel album in New Orleans and actually ended up in a studio on Piety Street, it just doesn’t get any better than that.
John Scofield: Yeah, it was one of those things, almost like being helped from above. It was also so much fun doing that record. Of course I knew the studio was on Piety Street, but it really didn’t register until I got down there.
Jazzamatazz: Jon Cleary was a great choice, it’s uncanny that a guy from England sings and plays piano like someone who grew up in the 9th Ward, and if that weren’t enough, he’s a fine guitarist.
John Scofield: Jon Cleary is just a major talent, and we did a year of touring after the album came out. It was wonderful working with him and he’s just become a great friend. He’s actually been into it for a long time, his story is rather interesting. His father and uncle were way into the music of New Orleans when he was a kid. So he grew up with New Orleans music playing around the house all the time, and his uncle was a musician. His sister was also really into it and had already moved down there, so when he was about age eighteen he was already playing and singing it, and at this point he’s lived down there for a long time.
Jazzamatazz: You’ve also had John Boutté who famously sings the theme song for HBO’s mini-series Treme. Have you had a chance to watch it, and are there any plans for you to appear in an episode?
John Scofield: Yes, that’s so great. We actually recorded Peity Street before that, and I was so happy to see that they used his music for the series. I actually watched one of the episodes with Jon Cleary in it, it’s very good. They haven’t asked me, but I’ll be there if they want me.
Jazzamatazz: You seem to have retained a rock energy when you need it, but other than a bit of B.B. King I can’t spot a particular influence from a blues or rock player. Were there any rock or blues player you listened to in your early years who had a lasting influence on you?
John Scofield: So first, there is influence, and then there are also people whom you like and respect. I liked and respected all of the blues players, and they all kind of played a bit like B.B. King, Otis Rush, Albert King and Freddie King. And I loved those guys, and Hendrix and Clapton, and I was a teenager when that first came out.
I started playing guitar at the end of 1963 just before the Beatles came over. [Laughing] I think I had my guitar out holding it when I was watching the Beatles on television on the Ed Sullivan Show. Continue reading
Why would someone create a replica of Blackie, complete with every single nick and scratch, including the wear pattern from Mr. Clapton’s belt buckle and the burn mark from his cigarettes? And why is that replica expected to fetch at least $20,000 at Wednesday’s auction, and probably much more?
Fortunately, social scientists have been hard at work on the answers. After conducting experiments and interviewing guitar players and collectors, they have just published papers analyzing “celebrity contagion” and “imitative magic,” not to mention “a dynamic cyclical model of fetishization appropriate to an age of mass-production.”
What a treat it was to interview Susan Tedeschi, the future looks bright for the Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi Band. Read the interview on All About Jazz.
Some of the artists with whom Louie Shelton has worked.
When Louie was 13 years old he met an up and coming Elvis Presley. Elvis was playing at Louie’s junior high school in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Years later in Los Angeles as a session guitarist he was in the studio with Elvis. Louie was one of two people in the studio when young Michael Jackson sang “I Want You Back.” He was in the studio with John Lennon and Phil Spector. T-Bone Walker, James Brown, Smokey Robinson and Stevie Wonder are also among his credits. He also produced Seals & Crofts and played lead guitar on their most memorable hits.
His 2009 induction into the Musicians Hall of Fame provided the perfect backdrop for this conversation with All About Jazz about his remarkable musical career.
I spoke with Derek Trucks about Carlos Santana just before the Allman Brothers’ big 40th anniversary and concert run at the Beacon Theater in NYC. Of course there was no sense in asking him if Eric Clapton or Santana would be showing up at the Beacon, all of the band was sworn to secrecy. As we know, E.C. did show up. He played two nights and it certainly lived up to all my personal expectations. I thought to myself, it just doesn’t get any better than this – and then I saw the clips of Carlos Santana sitting in with the Derek Trucks Band on April 15, 2009 in San Francisco. (See video below & please take the poll at the bottom of the post.) Continue reading
We just bought a living room mini-PC. Up until now we had occasionally connected our laptop to our LCD TV, but the multimedia use caused the laptop fans to run at full capacity. It was loud and a bit of a chore hooking it up. This week a local chain store put the above mini-PC on sale for 222 Euros and we decided to take the plunge.
The first feature that really appealed to us Continue reading
So what do Randy Brecker, Stanley Clarke and Lenny White have in common with Kid Rock, Eric Clapton and Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top?
All were part of the Allman Brothers Band’s three-week musical extravaganza at New York City’s Beacon Theater celebrating the band’s 40th anniversary. This year’s list of surprise guests also included Johnny Winter, Taj Mahal, Sheryl Crow, John Hammond, Boz Scaggs, Chuck Leavell, Levon Helm, Bruce Hornsby, Southside Johnny, The Juke Horns, Buddy Guy, Susan Tedeschi, Bonnie Bramlett, Jimmy Herring, Robert Randolph, Sonny Landreth, Bob Margolin, John Popper, Trey Anastasio, and members of Los Lobos, Cowboy, Wet Willie and The Grateful Dead.
Please check out my recent piece on All About Jazz
A lot of people still seem to be interested in this subject, so I’m leaving this post up. It was originally a daily review of each Beacon show, primarily using photos and set lists. Thus it is in reverse order, last show first.
After watching it all and reflecting on the Allman Brothers 40th, I wrote an article that was published on All About Jazz. You can read it here.
Well, my guess about Phil Lesh was correct and I’m so happy that Chuck Leavell did indeed make it back from the timber conference in Idaho to close out the Beacon run – what a terrific surprise! Chuck totally smoked the place, he was awesome.
On the final night the Moogis folks took us backstage for a tour.
UPDATE: JAN 2010
The annual stats are in @ All About Jazz and this Derek Trucks interview was the most read interview on the site in the year 2009. It was also the #5 most read article overall.
Check out my interview with Derek Trucks, we talk about Clapton, Santana, Duane Allman, Tal Wilkenfeld, Johnny Winter and much more… Continue reading
Chuck Leavell is one of the world’s premier blues rock pianists–a veteran musician who has recorded and toured with many of the best-known names in the business. He is perhaps best known for his work with the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, The Black Crowes, and most of all, his legendary years with the Allman Brothers Band in the ’70s.
My extensive and wide-ranging interview with Chuck has just been published in All About Jazz.
You can read it
One of the best LP covers of 1968
Jimi Hendrix – All along the watchtower
The Jimi Hendrix Experience began to record their cover version of Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower” on January 21, 1968, at Olympic Studios in London.  According to engineer Andy Johns, Jimi Hendrix had been given a tape of Dylan’s recording by publicist Michael Goldstein, who worked for Dylan’s manager Albert Grossman. “(Hendrix) came in with these Dylan tapes and we all heard them for the first time in the studio,” recalled Johns. According to Hendrix’s regular engineer Eddie Kramer, the guitarist cut a large number of takes on the first day, Continue reading
The Beatles on making Sgt Pepper
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is the eighth studio album by the British rock band The Beatles. Recorded over a 129-day period beginning on 6 December 1966, the album was released on 1 June 1967 in the United Kingdom and the following day in the United States. Sgt. Pepper’s is often described as The Beatles’ magnum opus, and one of the most influential albums of all time by prominent critics and publications. It was ranked the greatest album of all time by Rolling Stone in 2003. Wikipedia
The Beatles try to buy an island Continue reading
Seeing Duane Allman play live was a life altering event for me. Just as we’ve come to accept the notion of a soulmate, I personally believe there is a musical equivalent. Locked in our core, each of us has musical soul waiting to be set free, and if we’re fortunate we’ll encounter the key. In my case it happened while I was still a teenager, when I experienced Duane Allman on stage at the Peabody Auditorium in Daytona Beach, Florida – September 16, 1970 to be exact. Continue reading
Sheryl Crow & Eric Clapton – Merry Christmas Baby (1999)
In my mind, Ray Charles and Eric Clapton have much in common. Two absolute music legends who transcend labels. They both shared the stage with an extraordinary array of performers, often adding an unforgettable quality to much of what they did on stage. Next year I’ll do a Ray retrospective, but this year have a look at Clapton’s incredible career – arguably the best all-around white blues musician of all time. Continue reading
In case you missed it, PBS has a few clips online here. And here is the set list of the PBS broadcast of Eric Clapton’s CROSSROADS GUITAR FESTIVAL CHICAGO
Premiered on November 28, 2007 on PBS
The evening’s program was recorded live at Toyota Park in Chicago, Illinois in July 2007.
Music and lyrics by Robert Cray
The Robert Cray Band
“Sitting on Top of the World”
Music and lyrics by Howlin’ Wolf
Hubert Sumlin with The Robert Cray Band and Jimmie Vaughan Continue reading
“The electric guitar I chose was one I had had my eye on in the window of Bell’s, where we had got the Hoyer. It was the same guitar I had seen Alexis Korner playing, a double-cutaway semi-acoustic Kay, which at the time was a quite advanced instrument, although essentially, as I later learned, it was still only a copy of the best guitar of the day, the Gibson ES-335. ” Continue reading
Well if you can’t get enough of this saga, read this and watch the video