Recent listening, current

Saturday, April 19, 2014

192. John Scofield - A Moment's Peace (2011)

Like any other artist, John Scofield is no stranger to the ballad, which is amply represented in his back catalog and live repertoire. But A Moment's Peace is the guitarists first album consisting entirely of ballads (Scofield's albums are big on themes, anyway). It's a really enjoyable set of standards with Brian Blade, Larry Goldings, and Scott Colley on hand to help out. They deserve congratulations because while anybody will recognize these tunes, when the band locks in with Sco in the lead for emotive rushes like "I Want to Talk About You," or the slippery bends and bluesy explorations of "Gee Baby Ain't I Good to You," it's still pure magic, despite the age of the music. Scofield's guitar is heard in a judiciously reverberant, tone saturated signal that is occasionally augmented by simple effects like tremolo, or Scofield rolling the volume knob for shading and dynamics. I love that technique, especially when Blade is playing sympathetically, and Goldings starts to use the draw bars in the same track... the cumulative effect of both instruments pulsing together creates a blissfully disorienting sonic texture that shimmers like light reflecting on a water surface. A Moment's Peace was good when I heard it three years ago, and it is getting better. Highly recommended.

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