John Scofield @ Musical Instrument Museum
It's almost scary to think about the music that guitarist John Scofield would have created as a heavy metal artist or as someone who dabbled in psychedelic, prog, or surf rock. Instead, Scofield touches on all these areas together, with his mostly jazz-fusion-ish construct Überjam. Maybe deconstruct would be a more apt term. Scofield and his current band — guitarist Avi Bortnick, drummer Adam Dietch, and bassist Andy Hess — strip jazz to its most basic elements before building it back up into compelling, hard-hitting grooves that tackle the rudimentary rhythmic pulses and highlights of several continents. No single song is beholden to any one musical form: funk, soul, Afro-beat, reggae, house, and tropicalia all find a way into the jazzy mix. Überjam formed in 2002 from a prototypical jazz-heavyweight jam session. But after one self-titled, Grammy-nominated album, these jazz virtuosos simply moved onto other projects. Scofield, for example, did a stylistic 180 in releasing an album of gentle ballads, A Moment's Peace. Bortnick, however, never let go of the notion that Überjam would reform, keeping those beats and grooves in constant upheaval, as the just released Überjam Deux reveals. It's a fine album, but it's on stage where these musicians talents are truly appreciated — wherever the momentary musical direction.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Phoenix, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.