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John Scofield|Uncle John's Band

Uncle John's Band

John Scofield, Vicente Archer, Bill Stewart

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While it feels like John Scofield should have recorded either dozens of albums for ECM or none at all, Uncle John's Band is, in fact, his third set as a leader for the label. Appropriately, Scofield is in trio mode (along with drummer Bill Stewart and Vicente Archer), bringing a crystalline and improvisationally-minded approach to this unique collection. Although, as the title indicates, there are a number of classic rock tunes being worked on here—Neil Young's "Old Man," the Byrds' version of Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man"—there are also a handful of standards as well as Scofield originals in the lineup. The compositions are wildly varied but the trio's take on them is remarkably consistent, delivered with a cool, improvisational confidence that's right at home in the ECM stable. Notably, the title track doesn't come until the end of this double-disc set, as its loose and joyful vibe stands out from the gentility of much of the rest of the album, which moves at a relatively sedate pace. (Few cuts are as sleepy as the trio's take on "Somewhere, however.) Still, Scofield being Scofield, that slow burn doesn't correlate to a lack of funk. Tracks like "Mo Green" and "Back in Time" are thoroughly chilled and defined by his clear and precise guitar tone, but they're also remarkably greasy, thanks to the rhythm section. Bill Stewart's impressive drum work is both complex and refreshingly direct, especially on a cut like "TV Band" where he seamlessly switches from a funky backbeat to dense, improvisational percussion without ever letting go of the groove. Likewise, bassist Vicente Archer provides as much funky foundation as he does freeform filigree, serving as both a foil for the other players as well as the guy who seems to always get them back on track. Archer performs this task admirably throughout the record, most notably on "Old Man," during which the bulk of the song's duration finds Young's original melody sublimated and riffed on by the group until it appears they've completely lost sight of their starting point; a simple three-note figure dropped by Archer near the end easily snaps Scofield and Stewart back to Young's indelible melody. That guileless switching between memorable songs and adventurous improvisation persists throughout this strong album, making it a strong addition to both Scofield and ECM's catalog. © Jason Ferguson/Qobuz

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Uncle John's Band

John Scofield

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1
Mr. Tambourine Man
00:09:09

Bob Dylan, Composer - John Scofield, Guitar, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vicente Archer, Double Bass, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Christoph Stickel, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bill Stewart, Drums, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Tyler McDiarmid, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2023 ECM Records GmbH

2
How Deep
00:05:39

John Scofield, Composer, Guitar, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vicente Archer, Double Bass, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Christoph Stickel, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bill Stewart, Drums, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Tyler McDiarmid, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2023 ECM Records GmbH

3
TV Band
00:07:21

John Scofield, Composer, Guitar, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vicente Archer, Double Bass, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Christoph Stickel, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bill Stewart, Drums, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Tyler McDiarmid, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2023 ECM Records GmbH

4
Back in Time
00:06:48

John Scofield, Composer, Guitar, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vicente Archer, Double Bass, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Christoph Stickel, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bill Stewart, Drums, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Tyler McDiarmid, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2023 ECM Records GmbH

5
Budo
00:04:11

Bud Powell, Composer - Miles Davis, Composer - John Scofield, Guitar, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vicente Archer, Double Bass, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Christoph Stickel, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bill Stewart, Drums, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Tyler McDiarmid, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2023 ECM Records GmbH

6
Nothing Is Forever
00:06:40

John Scofield, Composer, Guitar, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vicente Archer, Double Bass, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Christoph Stickel, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bill Stewart, Drums, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Tyler McDiarmid, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2023 ECM Records GmbH

7
Old Man
00:07:02

Neil Young, Composer - John Scofield, Guitar, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vicente Archer, Double Bass, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Christoph Stickel, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bill Stewart, Drums, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Tyler McDiarmid, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2023 ECM Records GmbH

8
The Girlfriend Chord
00:05:26

John Scofield, Composer, Guitar, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vicente Archer, Double Bass, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Christoph Stickel, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bill Stewart, Drums, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Tyler McDiarmid, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2023 ECM Records GmbH

9
Stairway to the Stars
00:06:41

Mitchell Parish, Composer - Frank Signorelli, Composer - Matt Malneck, Composer - John Scofield, Guitar, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vicente Archer, Double Bass, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Christoph Stickel, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bill Stewart, Drums, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Tyler McDiarmid, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2023 ECM Records GmbH

10
Mo Green
00:07:18

John Scofield, Composer, Guitar, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vicente Archer, Double Bass, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Christoph Stickel, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bill Stewart, Drums, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Tyler McDiarmid, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2023 ECM Records GmbH

11
Mask
00:06:34

John Scofield, Composer, Guitar, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vicente Archer, Double Bass, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Christoph Stickel, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bill Stewart, Drums, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Tyler McDiarmid, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2023 ECM Records GmbH

12
Somewhere
00:06:31

Leonard Bernstein, Composer - Stephen Sondheim, Composer - John Scofield, Guitar, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vicente Archer, Double Bass, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Christoph Stickel, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bill Stewart, Drums, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Tyler McDiarmid, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2023 ECM Records GmbH

13
Ray’s Idea
00:03:56

John Scofield, Guitar, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Gil Fuller, Composer - Vicente Archer, Double Bass, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Christoph Stickel, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bill Stewart, Drums, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Raymond Brown, Composer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Tyler McDiarmid, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2023 ECM Records GmbH

14
Uncle John’s Band
00:06:26

Robert Hunter, Composer - John Scofield, Guitar, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Jerome Garcia, Composer - Vicente Archer, Double Bass, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Christoph Stickel, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bill Stewart, Drums, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Tyler McDiarmid, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2023 ECM Records GmbH

Album review

While it feels like John Scofield should have recorded either dozens of albums for ECM or none at all, Uncle John's Band is, in fact, his third set as a leader for the label. Appropriately, Scofield is in trio mode (along with drummer Bill Stewart and Vicente Archer), bringing a crystalline and improvisationally-minded approach to this unique collection. Although, as the title indicates, there are a number of classic rock tunes being worked on here—Neil Young's "Old Man," the Byrds' version of Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man"—there are also a handful of standards as well as Scofield originals in the lineup. The compositions are wildly varied but the trio's take on them is remarkably consistent, delivered with a cool, improvisational confidence that's right at home in the ECM stable. Notably, the title track doesn't come until the end of this double-disc set, as its loose and joyful vibe stands out from the gentility of much of the rest of the album, which moves at a relatively sedate pace. (Few cuts are as sleepy as the trio's take on "Somewhere, however.) Still, Scofield being Scofield, that slow burn doesn't correlate to a lack of funk. Tracks like "Mo Green" and "Back in Time" are thoroughly chilled and defined by his clear and precise guitar tone, but they're also remarkably greasy, thanks to the rhythm section. Bill Stewart's impressive drum work is both complex and refreshingly direct, especially on a cut like "TV Band" where he seamlessly switches from a funky backbeat to dense, improvisational percussion without ever letting go of the groove. Likewise, bassist Vicente Archer provides as much funky foundation as he does freeform filigree, serving as both a foil for the other players as well as the guy who seems to always get them back on track. Archer performs this task admirably throughout the record, most notably on "Old Man," during which the bulk of the song's duration finds Young's original melody sublimated and riffed on by the group until it appears they've completely lost sight of their starting point; a simple three-note figure dropped by Archer near the end easily snaps Scofield and Stewart back to Young's indelible melody. That guileless switching between memorable songs and adventurous improvisation persists throughout this strong album, making it a strong addition to both Scofield and ECM's catalog. © Jason Ferguson/Qobuz

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