Sunday, 7 March 2010


It's not very often I'm wary about going to a jazz gig, but I was certainly wary on Friday when we went off to see the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra with special guest John Scofield play "Loud Jazz & Electric Miles".
The reason for my wariness? Well. There's many different Miles Davis's out there and I like them all ..... except his electric period. Bitches Brew? On The Street Corner?...utter guff.

As it was, and I should have known a lot better, it was good. It was very, very good.

The SNJO had, with guest arrangers and under the usual steady hand of Tommy Smith, taken some electric Miles and rearranged them wonderfully for Big Band. And, with the exception of a couple of splendid sax solos from Mr Smith himself, Paul Towndrow and Konrad Wiszniewski, the night was more or less a spectacular showcase for Scofield.

Indeed the title "Loud Jazz and Electric Miles" was, in retrospect , more a nod towards the career of Scofield rather than a tribute to later Miles.

There were a couple of numbers made famous by Miles, that were actually written by Marcus Miller (Splatch and Tutu) but the majority of the numbers were either by Scofield or others.

All a bit "Funky" to be honest. I don't mind a bit of Funk, and I enjoyed most of the two and a bit hour gig, but I couldn't listen to it all the time (a tad "samey").

What was amazing was to see Scofield, with one guitar and one small amp, play so expressively with little "technical add ons". He strummed, he plucked, he slapped, he even used a slide at one point, but I wasn't aware of any loops or effect pedals being used.

I've seen some "pop" concerts where infinitely less talented guitarists strut about the stage with different guitars for different songs, have more pedals in front of them than a millipede could cope with, have a dedicated "guitar roadie" to pander to their every whim .... and they still sound crap.

Added bonus of the evening? Well. It had to be the fact that they were selling the SNJO's latest disc "Torah". According to Amazon it isn't "officially" released until the end of April. More about that later.

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