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OH! (2002)

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John Scofield

Combining the talents of tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano, guitarist John Scofield, bassist Dave Holland, and drummer Al Foster, there is an uncredited fifth member on jazz supergroup Scolohofo's debut recording, Oh! -- Miles Davis. Every one of these musicians, except for Lovano, gained their first real success with the legendary trumpeter -- an experience that informs their careers to the present. The aesthetic on Oh! is resolutely Milesian -- impressionistic, spare, soft, funky, progressive, but always with an ear to the blues. Scolohofoda? His sound is almost literally present, an "implied tone" whenever Scofield's dissonant chord clusters and Lovano's whispery throat tones collide. These guys played with Davis in his later fusion period during the '70s and '80s when Davis' "group" aesthetic came to the fore and became perhaps even more important than his individual contribution. And, while everyone gets their featured solo spot, the overall effect is one of intensely soft and layered patches of sound. Scofield's trademark "chicken scratch" lines match perfectly with Lovano's fuzzy spittle tone and the rhythm section of Holland and Foster offers its own wryly propulsive counterpoint. Musically, the goal is resolutely post-bop, but with an acoustic, folky underpining that allows for some interestingly arranged melodic moments. This contrasts nicely with the free-flowing, loose improvisation informed by '60s free jazz, fusion, and modern progressive styles. Longtime fans of the work of these individual musicians will find much to enjoy here, but there is the sense of new or at least rediscovery on Oh! -- another Davis trademark -- which bodes well for future collaborations. ~ Matt Collar