Happy Birthday John Scofield

December 26, 1951

A tribute to the influential guitarist

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Guitarist John Scofield was born on December 26, 1951 in Dayton, Ohio.

Scofield grew up in Wilton, Connecticut, took up the guitar, and enrolled at the Berklee College of Music, making his recording debut with Jay McShann in 1971.

But because he was already considered quite talented, he soon left school to perform and record for a reunion of Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker.

That was immediately followed by two years of touring and recording with the Billy Cobham/George Duke Band, a rockish funk/fusion group.

Despite the exposure and experience, that was not the ideal spot for Scofield who was happier to record with Charles Mingus in 1976 and work with the Gary Burton Quartet.

He started recording as a leader in 1976 and has primarily led his own groups since then with a few exceptions, most notably a stint during 1982-85 with Miles Davis.

John Scofield, who has a very distinctive sound that is a bit inspired by Jim Hall, has led a series of stimulating albums during the past 40 years and has led many different combos that define the modern post bop mainstream of jazz; he has also collaborated on projects with Bill Frisell, Pat Metheny, Eddie Harris, and Medeski, Martin & Wood.

This clip features Scofield performing “Blue Matter.”


John Scofield, guitar
Jim Beard, keyboards
Gary Grainger, bass
Dennis Chambers, drums

-Scott Yanow


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