John Scofield - Bump
  1. Three Sisters
  2. Chichon
  3. Beep Beep
  4. Kelpers
  5. Groan Man
  6. Fez
  1. Blackout
  2. Kilgeffen
  3. We Are Not Alone
  4. Swinganova
  5. Drop and Roll
  6. Kilgeffen (Reprise)

John Scofield's latest CD, Bump, signifies a continued exploration of Sco's funky roots. It hearks back to such recordings as Still Warm or Blue Matter, but is really a sequel to 1998's A Go Go. The overall feel seems more laid back, the rhythm section grooving along in a Funky Meters kind of way, while Sco's edgy guitar statements percolate above the heat.

This is also an 'enhanced CD', with videos, pictures and text files you can view on your Computer. This gives you an interesting backstage look at the making of the music and a chance to hear Scofield discuss his views regarding the album.

There are a variety of players on this disc, including Mark De Gli Antoni (Soul Coughing), Eric Kalb and Johnny Durking (Deep Banana Blackout), Tony Scherr and Kenny Wolleson (Sex Mob), Chris Wood (Medeski Martin & Wood), latin percussionist Johnny Almendra, and bassist Dave Livolsi. Many of these guys represent the 'funk noveau' world and are well known to the larger musical public.

The disc has a feel of a 'band', that is, not so much a record date of high-end hired guns. There is a real cooperative feeling here, which imbues the grooves with such life. All the different rhythmic styles (and there are legion) are performed with conviction and wit. This is a great feeling group of tunes.

Sco uses a variety of guitar sounds here. There's the classic slightly distorted electric sound which populates much of the CD, but there are refreshing interludes and backgrounds that feature acoustic (couldn't quite tell if it was steel or nylon string) and some tunes reveal Sco's love of pitch detuning. As for his rhythm work, let me tell you, he knows how to use a wah pedal! As a guitarist who came of age during the days of the Commodores and Parliament Funkadelic, I love a funky wah rhythm guitar.

Don't bring any preconceptions with you when listening to this CD for the first time. The tunes are not conventional head-based compositions but rather sonic explorations. The melodies are sparse, almost interwoven with the supporting band texture. The guitar improvisations are sparse as well. I was a little disappointed in that, because I love Sco's playing and wanted to hear him blow a little bit. But don't discard this record for that reason. The harmonies are compelling and compositionally there are some interesting things going on. Sco definitely has a srong sense of form and direction in his writing, due in no small part to the experience of the arranging work he did on Quiet. I don't think I can call this a guitar CD. This is a band doing it's collective thing.

There are some standout tracks. Kelpers has a quirky melody that won't get out of my ear. Swinganova has a luscious Latin feel that sets off the edgy guitar beautifully. Groan Man and Fez also caught my attention.

Scofield fans will enjoy this CD, as will funk/groove listeners. The enhanced CD content adds a level of coolness as well. How many big name recording sessions do you get to watch? Well you can see this one in the accompanying video. So I think you might want to check this disc out.

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