Dear Jazz Musicians, Play Pop You Fuckers! Episode 1: MSMW.
If you haven’t heard of John Scofield, just know that he’s one of those “pushing the boundaries” jazz guitarists. Sometimes it works really well and sometimes it doesn’t. A few years back, he teamed up for an album with Medeski Martin & Wood, a keyboard/organ driven jazz trio that borders on funk. The album was called Out Louder, and was very good if you like that sort of thing: driven jazz funk with a lot of virtuosic playing and a rhythm section that sits in the pocket really fucking well. I saw them when they came through town, and was amazed at how well their music blew up the dance floor.
Despite all that, the album hasn’t aged that well for me: I like all the musicians and their playing on the album, but its just too brash. The one exception is a song called Julia.
Of course, its The Beatles’ song. This is the first in what I suspect will be a long series of posts of jazzists covering or creating pop songs. Hell I’m only a few posts into this blog thing and I already feel like I’m repeating myself, but I love technically great players applying themselves to songs that appeal to mere mortals like myself. Melodies are important, and if you can create memorable melodies while improvising, then great (see: Keith Jarrett), but a memorable head is nice too. Julia played by Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood is a beautiful recording, so again dear jazz musicians, play pop you fuckers!