Tag Archives: john scofield

This is A Perfect Jazz Solo! – Why Scofield Always Gets It Right!

I might touch on a few unpopular opinions in this video, but Scofield NEVER fails to impress me, even when he is just jamming a well-known Jazz standard, and it is surprising how traditional his approach is while he still manages to add his own sound to it, isn’t that what it is all about?

One of the beautiful things about Jazz is that you don’t only play your own music, you also interpret Jazz Standards that make up a big part of the repertoire. And it is always interesting to hear how the people you admire interpret songs, it feels a little like you are playing with them at a jam session.

The video I am talking about also gives me a chance to be a bit patriotic since Scofield is playing with the Danish-Vietnamese bass player Chris Minh Doky and it appears to be a recording for Danish TV (Patriotic b-roll)

The song is Alone Together, certainly one of the most common Jam session standards in the book, and let’s start with how he plays the theme, because that may be sort of an unpopular opinion, and later I will also talk about why I think Scofield is probably one of the first Jazz guitarists to be really important for the entire style, which might be another hot take, so grab your pitchforks and check this out!!

Interpreting A Melody (without being a Robot)

Since they are playing in a duo then Scofield is adding chords to the melody, but the way he does this is really effective and probably also my preferred approach, mainly because it gives you room to really phrase the melody and let that shine.

What he does is,  of course, to play the melody and then add chords around it, instead of playing the melody inside chords all the time which removes some of the possibilities for more vocal-like phrasing. A great example of the “other” approach would be something like this Joe Pass playing Misbehavin’

Of course, here Joe Pass is also playing solo guitar so he needs to cover more of the groove as well, and actually, I also think that the instrument and sound matter a bit here, but if start talking about that then the comment section blows up. Later, in the video, you’ll also see some examples of how Scofields playing is pretty traditional, which is at least not what I really think of when I think of his style.

The Melody of Alone Together lends itself very well to this because the structure is often a pick-up and then a long note on beat 1 which leaves room for adding chords:

Like he does in this section:

So first you get the melody just adding a 5th under it and then a complete Eø(9) and A7.

Same thing on the Aø D7, and then you get this really nice open 3-part harmonization on the Gm7.

Another thing that stands out to me is how Scofield often adds voice movement with suspensions under the maj7 chord. First some octaves and then a nice Maj7(#5) that resolves:

So there is also some reharmonization or embellishment of the harmony going on. You also want to notice that he very often plays E7 A7 instead of Eø A7

Like this:

It is a small detail to add in there but he really uses it incredibly well in the solo too, which really gives the song some personality and changes the overall sound.

Expression is Mostly In The Right Hand

I always found it so impressive even if it is subtle, that Scofield is able to do so much with the sound, picking some notes close to the bridge to get a different sound, using pick and fingers or just fingers for some parts, he really changes that very often throughout the song.

Check out how he is really using where he picks the string to get different sounds:

Two things to learn from this: First, notice how the first bar is picked with a more mellow sound and he moved closer to the bridge to make the 2nd bar more nasal.

The second thing connects to how I talked about some more traditional aspects of his playing, and here is one of them: He is not playing Eø A7 in that line, it is all A7 altered, so like Joe Pass or Barry Harris, he does not play the II chord all the time. And this really connects to how he starts his solo as well.

Scofield Knows His Bebop

I think it was one of the times that I saw him live with the trio with Bill Stewart and Steve Swallow when he talked about how he loved to practice bebop tunes and check out Charlie Parker, so it isn’t really a surprise to me that he knows that part of it as well even if I didn’t really recognize that in the first things I heard from him which had a lot of New Orleans and Blues influence. I’ll talk a bit more about that later as well. Let’s first listen to the first part of the solo:

The next phrase he plays also shows that he doesn’t only rely on bebop lines, but has a very wide vocabulary of rhythms as well:

The next part really lets the E7 sound shine!

So you get the B and the G# and then the counter movement with the melody going up and the 2nd voice moving down from  G# to G to F.

I’ll show you another really great example of this later.

Again he is not playing the II chord on Aø D7 but goes straight for the D7.

Open Strings and Open Sounds

This is super typical for Scofield, but also really one of the things that I love about his playing: Harmony and Melody are really melting together.

The first part is a chromatic run, which I suspect is actually a Parker lick, but it’s hard to tell. Using a LOT of legato like this is also a very typical part of John Scofields sound or phrasing.

Then you hear the Eø to A7 which is a really simple scale run spelling out the harmony,

But the part that I really like here is the resolution to the 3rd interval, and then adding the melody over the sustained F# starting with the open string.

He did something similar in the theme with the open E. That is such a beautiful sound and again a way of making the best possible use of what is practical on the instrument.

From there you hear a short Lydian maj7 lick before going to the 2nd A, so he is again messing with the sound on the Dmaj7 similar to what he did in the theme.

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When Guitar Ruled Jazz

Few guitarists have had as big an impact on Jazz as a genre as John Scofield. Having worked with everyone from Miles Davis to Joe Henderson and Chris Potter his music and take on Jazz guitar is a huge influence maybe more on Jazz in general than on Jazz guitar, which also just tells you how fantastic a musician he is. My introduction to Jazz was marked by discovering John Scofield and Charlie Parker at the same time, both being really strong in playing Blues which was probably what I could recognize or relate to.

As Jazz guitarists then we often live in a bubble where we focus the most on the guitarists in the genre, but in most of Jazz history then the guitar players were not what shaped the style. Mostly this was left to horn players like Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, or piano players like Bill Evans and Herbie Hancock. Before the comment section explodes —  let me explain what I mean. Kenny Burrell or even Wes or Joe Pass did not really start a new direction in Jazz, it wasn’t so that all the musicians that are not guitarists bought their albums, so there are no “kind of blue” or “giant steps” albums in there. That doesn’t make them lesser musicians so keep in mind that it is not a criticism of their playing or ability in any way, I am just looking a bit beyond what albums were game-changing for Jazz Guitarists, and widening the scope to Jazz in general.

I think that Scofield and Metheny probably did have that type of genre-defining impact on Jazz as a style.  When I studied then everyone had Scofield Quartet albums, especially “Meant To Be” because they were sort of the “Workin'” Steamin'” and “Relaxin'” albums of that period. You hear it pop up in other albums where the connection is very clear, and I think that was the first time that the influence of a guitarist really went across the entire style and didn’t stay with guitar players. For Scofield, it was probably a lot about groove and pulling in new influences to Jazz, especially New Orleans grooves but also some more acoustic-sounding funk.

I think it is worthwhile giving Scofield that credit and it is really nice to be able to reference his music when talking to other musicians on gigs if you want to play a song in a Ponciana groove or something using second-line. That the guitar became a more defining instrument in Jazz so late probably also has something to do with the instrument evolving and being very dominant in pop and rock music.

Counterpoint Funkyness

This is really great, again more open rhythmical phrases and not Bebop lines but he is using the E7 again, and going into it in a really nice way using 6th intervals

It’s almost like a minor II V in Am. The real counterpoint is the next phrase which is Bach meets Blues:

It’s only a few notes but it sounds really great with the B moving up to the C before going into another variation of the E7 A7 that he used earlier.

Genius of Intervals and Counter Melodies!

The way Scofied uses intervals and sparse voicings to make the individual voices more clear is really effective and is a great way to get the melody across, both in solos and when playing chord melody. Developing this in your playing can really open up some beatiful sounds and add another dimension to your playing. If you want to explore that further then a Contemporary of Scofield, Bill Frisell is who you should check out, and I go over how his take on Days Of Wine and Rose which is incredibly beautiful and a great intro to this type of playing.

Amazing Chord Melody Without Any Chords? So Beautiful That Nobody Cares

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John Scofield – Some of the Greatest Double Time Lines I Know

John Scofield is one of my favorite jazz-guitarists. In fact, he gets away with using an effect I don’t like and I still love his playing!

This video is on probably my favorite John Scofield solo: Milestones of the Joe Henderson album So Near, So Far (which is anyway a fantastic album).

Milestones is a very difficult chord progression to solo on, but John Scofield really nails it with a lot of different approaches, pentatonics, and reharmonizations.

Content:

0:00 Intro – John Scofield on So Near, So far.

0:20 Milestones with Joe Henderson

1:06 Example #1

1:08 Super-imposed pentatonic double stops

2:17 Example #1 Slow

2:22 Example #2

2:29 Melodic statements with chords in the bridge

3:50 The Basic Melody used

4:11 Using Legato to mix bebop and pentatonics

5:31 Example #2 Slow

5:43 Example #3

5:50 Sco’s approach to double-time lines

6:45 Repeated ideas Scorfield vs Metheny

7:14 Signature Pentatonic Melody and Using different techniques for sound

8:01 Example #3 Slow

8:11 Example #4

8:16 Contrast: Melodic vs Angular (how to keep it interesting..)

9:11 Example #4 slow

9:18 Example #5

9:20 Intervallic double time ideas

10:21 Example #6

10:26 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page

Check out one of my other lessons on John Scofield:

I have done a few other videos analyzing Scofields playing that you can check out through these links. One is on a medium Bb Jazz blues, the other is on his solo on the changes of There Will Never Be Another You.

John Scofield On A Blues This Is Why He Is Great

John Scofield – How To Mix Bebop And Pentatonics

The Musings for Miles Album

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John Scofield – How To Mix Bebop And Pentatonics

John Scofield is in many ways a fantastic jazz artist. Besides having a signature tone and always coming up with new projects and collaborations he also has a very personal melodic language. In this John Scofield Lesson, I am going to break down some phrases from his solo on Not You Again. This is a song based on the changes of There Will Never Be Another You. Analyzing John Scofield licks really demonstrates how he uses pentatonic scales, melodic minor and mixes this with bebop influences.

John Scofield has a great very practical way to use legato in his playing. In many ways, it is a pretty fantastic way to use a technique that makes it easier to play the lines in a way that makes the phrasing more interesting. The solo is also a great example of how half of playing a good solo on a jazz standard is about interpreting and re-harmonizing the standard chords while playing.

What I don’t talk about in this lesson, even if it is as interesting as the notes he plays, is how John Scofield works with tone and shapes the sound of what he plays. This aspect of his playing is not that common in Jazz Guitar, but the dynamic and tonal range of John Scofield could easily be the topic of long books.

The song, Not You Again, is off the album John Scofield recorded with Billy Higgins, Kenny Garrett, Christian McBride, and Brad Mehldau. The Brad Mehldau solo is also worth studying as he is also a master at re-interpreting the harmony. This is also the first album that Scofield recorded without using his signature chorus.

Content:

0:00 Intro – Scofield on a Jazz Standard

0:55 #1 Diatonic Pentatonic Scale

1:49 Linking Technique and Phrasing Dynamics

2:10 #1 Diatonic Pentatonic Scale – Slow

2:14 #2 Bebop Line and Phrasing

2:58 Using Legato to help add Large Intervals to the solo

4:18 #2 Bebop Line and Phrasing – Slow

4:27 Analysis of Scofield’s Legato and Phrasing 5.07 Keeping it Practical like Allan Holdsworth

5:14 #3 Altered Scale Pentatonic

5:43 Altered Pentatonic Melodic Patterns

6:16 Groups of 7 8th notes

6:31 #3 Altered Scale Pentatonic – Slow

7:00 #4 Angular Legato lines

7:51 Legato to create Angular lines 8:

24 #4 Angular Legato lines – Slow

8:27 #5 Rhythmic and Octave Displacement

8:50 Rhythmic Displacement with pentatonc scales

9:26 #5 Rhythmic and Octave Displacement – Slow

9:31 #6 Pentatonic & Bebop melodies

10:33 Legato: Hammer on/Pull off and Slides

10:58 #6 Pentatonic & Bebop melodies – Slow

11:04 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page!

Get some new Pentatonic ideas!

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5 Jazz Blues Licks – How to use Transcribed ideas

In this video, I go over 5 longer Jazz Blues Licks that incorporate different ideas that I took from transcriptions of great guitarists such as Grant Green, George Benson, Charlie Parker(not really a guitarist, but he wished he was), Wes Montgomery, and John Scofield.

These examples really highlights how I work with material that I have transcribed, and most of them are in fact in videos I have done on these artists.

How I use transcribed licks

For me using larger chunks of a solo from somebody else was never really working. I always preferred to work with small phrases or even the concept behind a phrase and then use that to make my own version of that idea.

In these examples, I am mostly using small bits and pieces of other guitarists licks. This is mainly because the relation to the original would maybe be too unclear.

Grant Green and his great triad lick

This first example uses an opening phrase that is quite common with Grant Green. He uses this 2nd inversion triad in both Miss Ann’s Tempo and I’ll Remember April.

For the rest the line is using some of the great ideas that we use in Blues influenced jazz with the sliding leading notes and especially approaching the 3rd from a half step below.

Another typical jazz line is the use of the G augmented triad to help pull towards the C7.

George Bensons Major Blues Genius

A comment on my recent video on George Benson went on and on about how his use of major pentatonic lines was dreadful. A very strange idea since most of the guys (like Parker and Coltrane) use this sound a lot. And besides that I can’t imagine not wanting to be able to play Blues phrases with the soul of Benson.

The quote in this phrase is in the middle of the line. It starts in bar 2 and continues into bar 3. In the original(in F) he playes the upbeat in quarter notes. Here I turned that into 8th ntoes.

The phrase in bar 4 is a Parker line similar to one of his lines in his original version of Billie’s Bounce.

Kenny Burrel and Wes Montgomery

The first phrase (another major pentatonic 🙂 ) is from Kenny Burrell. The descending 6th at the end is really beautiful. On the C7 I am using a double stop trill that you can hear both Benson and Montgomery use. Wes plays a whole chorus in No Blues off Smoking at the Half note with this phrase. Here I am putting it on the IV chord rather than the I where both Benson and Wes use it.

Scofield’s Amazing Arpeggio Ideas and slides

This example is beginning with a lick that is not exactly taken from a Scofield solo but is more “in the vein of” The way he uses different types of legato techniques to create a really nice flow is beautiful, even if it is a little tricky to play.

The phrase in bars 3 and 4 is more of a direct quote from Scofield but the 2nd half is my take on developing the original as a motif. Here I take the opportunity to also turn it into a more altered sound.

Imitating Wes is always worthwhile

This example is a take on a Wes line from his (unbelievable) solo on Four on Six off the Smoking at the half note album. The original is on 4 bars of G minor, but here I have taken it to G major keeping the basic shape and changing the notes around.

What to take away from this lesson

I think these examples describe how I work with material that I have transcribed. Some of the examples I might really play in a solo and some that I might work with while practicing to develop them into more personal takes on the lines.

Developing your own material is important (and fun) so I’d suggest you do the same.

Supercharge your Blues playing!

If you want some more jazz blues examples then check out this WebStore lesson:

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Favorite Jazz Guitar Album Recommendations From YouTube

One of the most important ways to stay inspired and motivated to keep on playing and practicing is to check out new Jazz Guitar Albums or Jazz Albums. The main way that I get introduced to new music is from recommendations so I thought it would be a fantastic idea to ask a lot of Jazz YouTubers what their favourite Jazz Guitar Album is and get some great recommendations.

Since I expect that you guys are probably also interested in some good music, so I made this video!

You should check out these channels if you like my videos. These are the people I check out on YouTube when it comes to music and Jazz Guitar!

I would like to thank Brent, Bob, Rick, Nick, Chris, Jacob, Ben, Levi and Sean for being a part of this video. I am really grateful for their help and recommendations!

Let us know what your favourite Jazz Guitar Album is!!

Brent Vaartstra – Learn Jazz Standards – https://www.youtube.com/user/Learnjazzstandards
Bob Reynolds – https://www.youtube.com/user/bobreynolds
Rick Beato – https://www.youtube.com/user/pegzch
Nick Homes – Jazz Duets – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqimxUbWsE26KSpx2_OcmmA
Chris Zoupa – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5A0eJ-bgtJddy0rG_prVog
Quist – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEXDaXzYhqYdLCQ3Ce7U2Og
Uncle Ben – https://www.youtube.com/user/BenEllerGuitars
Levi Clay – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCySQog_SBfX4-CnR2hWVBOQ
Sean Daniel – https://www.youtube.com/user/seandaniel23
Jens Larsen – https://www.youtube.com/jenslarsen

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John Scofield On A Blues This Is Why He Is Great

Few artists have done what John Scofield has managed. He keeps coming up with new projects and trying out very diverse directions for his music. Sometimes we pay more attention to Scofield the band leader than Scofield the guitarist, but he does have a very distinct and interesting style of jazz playing. His playing has landed him gigs with Miles Davis, Joe Henderson and Chris Potter among many others.

John Scofield Solo on a Bb Blues

In this video I am going to take a look at some phrases from a solo off the I Can See Your House From Here album that was a collaboration with Pat Metheny. An album that features Steve Swallow and Bill Stewart. who would later form the Scofield Trio for a few albums.

Scofields style of playing is very rhythmical and often quite sparse compared to contemporaries like Metheny and McLaughlin, but he also manages to have some melodies that are both unique and very beautiful. Something that is not that easy in modern jazz.

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If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics then please let me know. Leave a comment on the video or send me an e-mail. That is the best way for me to improve my lessons and make them fit what you are searching for.

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My Favourite YouTube Jazz Guitar Videos! – Scofield, Kreisberg & Hekselman

 

This video is a small set of recommendations of some of the videos I came across on YouTube. All the videos are live performances and they are a bit “unofficial” But in my opinion they really capture some of the things I like about these jazz guitarists and their bands.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqWcTA1eGWI

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do! 🙂🙂

Scary Vibrato! – Using Neck Vibrato

I have a lot of people ask if I am ruining my guitar when I play live because of this technique. For me It is also a great addition to add life to sustained chords that everybody should be aware of.

I have never had issues with the neck of my guitars and I have also never heard of anybody having issues, and since it is such a nice chorus effect to add to the music when you feel like it then I thought I’d make a video on it.

This is not a technique that I invented. I picked it up from Bill Frisell and Scofield, but you’ll also see Ted Greene do it often.

For this topic there isn’t much point in making a long article describing how to do this. You are better of just checking out the video!

I hope you can use the lesson to get started using this vibrato technique. It’s a very lush effect that works so well to add some life to the sustained chords in a chord melody like I do in the intro of the video.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics or how I can make the lessons better then please let me know. Leave a comment on the video or  send me an e-mail. That is the best way for me to improve my lessons and make them fit what you are searching for.

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