Welcome to a new season of the Music Column with jazz musician, composer and singer William Price King.
American jazz-rock guitarist and composer John Scofield
About John Scofield from his official website
“John Scofield’s guitar work has influenced jazz since the late 70’s and is going strong today. Possessor of a very distinctive sound and stylistic diversity, Scofield is a masterful jazz improviser whose music generally falls somewhere between post-bop, funk edged jazz, and R & B.
Born in Ohio and raised in suburban Connecticut, Scofield took up the guitar at age 11, inspired by both rock and blues players. He attended Berklee College of Music in Boston. After a debut recording with Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker, Scofield was a member of the Billy Cobham-George Duke band for two years. In 1977 he recorded with Charles Mingus, and joined the Gary Burton quartet. He began his international career as a bandleader and recording artist in 1978. From 1982–1985, Scofield toured and recorded with Miles Davis. His Davis stint placed him firmly in the foreground of jazz consciousness as a player and composer.
Since that time he has prominently led his own groups in the international Jazz scene, recorded over 30 albums as a leader (many already classics) including collaborations with contemporary favorites like Pat Metheny, Charlie Haden, Eddie Harris, Medeski, Martin & Wood, Bill Frisell, Brad Mehldau, Mavis Staples, Government Mule, Jack DeJohnette, Joe Lovano and Phil Lesh. He’s played and recorded with Tony Williams, Jim Hall, Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock, Joe Henderson, Dave Holland, Terumasa Hino among many jazz legends. Throughout his career Scofield has punctuated his traditional jazz offerings with funk-oriented electric music. All along, the guitarist has kept an open musical mind.
Touring the world approximately 200 days per year with his own groups, he is an Adjunct Professor of Music at New York University, a husband, and father of two.”
Let’s listen to some of John Scofield’s music
The John Scofield Band released “Überjam” in 2002 on Verve Records. Überjam is an album with many different styles: jazz fusion, jazz-funk, and acid-jazz – in other words, pure fusion. It was produced by John Scofield and Jason Olaine. The music on this album is abstract, intellectual, funky, and spontaneous, and highlights Scofield’s fascination with new electronic music.
“Scorched” was commissioned by the Society of Friends and Patrons of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra in 2002. Mark-Anthony Turnage recomposed and orchestrated original compositions by Scofield for symphony orchestra and big band, thus the title SCOfield ORCHstratED. Scofield worked on the project with John Patitucci on electric bass and Peter Erskine on drums. This can be called orchestral jazz, a hybrid, but also comes across as contemporary classical music. The arrangements are done with dense but agile harmonic movement and crisp rhythmic changes. The big band and orchestra alternate with Scofield’s trio (Patitucci and Erskine) instead of playing together. “Scorched” was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2004 for ‘Best Classical Crossover Album’.
“I Don’t Need No Doctor”, from the album “That’s What I Say: John Scofield Plays the Music of Ray Charles” (2005), is an R&B song written by Nick Ashford, Valerie Simpson, and Jo Armstead. Scofield recorded this album as a tribute to Ray Charles featuring well-known guest artists Dr. John, Mavis Staples (The Staple Sisters), Aaron Neville, and John Mayer who does an exquisite job on “I Don’t Need No Doctor”. This was Scofield’s first time working with vocals and the outcome is an admirable effort, fluctuating between instrumental soul-jazz and vocal soul.
“Wayfaring Strange” is from the album “Country of Old Men” (2016) and is a well-known American folk and gospel song. The title of this album was taken from the novel “No Country for Old Men” as a joke about Scofield’s age. The album features jazz versions of country music songs and spotlights Scofield’s love for the blues while highlighting his ability to build, harmonically, on ‘tension and release’ with perfect timing which is evident in his New Orleans style version of “Wayfaring Stranger”. “Country For Old Men” won the Grammy Award for ‘Best Jazz Instrumental Album’ in 2017.
My thanks to William Price King for bringing us the music of John Scofield and I for one will be exploring his music further.. thank you too from us both for tuning in.
William Price King is an American jazz singer, crooner, and composer.
His interest in music began at an early age when he studied piano and clarinet in high school. At Morehouse College in Atlanta where he grew up, he sang in the Glee Club and studied classical music. After graduation he went off to the Yale School of Music where he earned a Masters degree. From there he journeyed to New York where he created a jazz trio ‘Au Naturel’ which performed in some of the hottest venues in Manhattan including gigs on Broadway and the famous ‘Rainbow Room.’ These gigs opened doors for performances in Montreal and a European tour.
While touring Europe he met a lovely French lady, Jeanne Maïstre, who, a year later became his wife. King left the group ‘Au Naturel’ and settled in the south of France where he started a new life on the French Riviera, opening his own music school – the “Price King Ecole Internationale de Chant.” He has had the pleasure over the years of seeing many of his students excel as singers on a professional level, and some going on to become national celebrities. He continues to coach young singers today, in his spare time.
His debut jazz album was entitled “Home,” and was a collection of contemporary compositions he composed, with lyrics written by his wife Jeanne King. His second album was a Duo (Voice and Guitar) with Eric Sempé on the guitar. This album included original songs as well as well known standards from contemporary jazz and pop artists. The “King-Sempé” duo toured France and thrilled audiences for more than three years before going their separate ways. King has formed a new duo with French/Greek guitarist Manolis, and is now exploring new ideas, in a smooth jazz/soul/folk direction.
In addition to singing and composing, King has been collaborating with author Sally Cronin over the past few years on her blog “Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life,” with the series “A Man And His Music – Jazz, Contemporary, Classical, and Legends” and now, the “William Price King Music Column.” Working with author Sally Cronin has been an exhilarating experience in many ways and has brought a new dimension to King’s creative life. King has also created a micro blog, “Improvisation,” which features and introduces mostly jazz artists from across the jazz spectrum who have made considerable contributions in the world of jazz; and also artwork from painters who have made their mark in the world of art. This micro blog can be found on Tumblr.
His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Tormé. King has a distinctive wide-ranging voice which displays a remarkable technical facility and emotional depth.
William Price King on Tumblr – IMPROVISATION – https://williampriceking.tumblr.com
Buy William’s music ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484
Connect with William
You can find all of the Music Column series in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-music-column/