International Jazz Day – Sco-Mule

April 30 is called International Jazz Day

Although jazz purists may not label this as jazz, I’d like to highlight one of the most fascinating releases I bought the last time: a pairing of John Scofield with the rockers of Gov’t Mule. This album consists of recordings of two live gigs in 1999 that apparantly aquired cult status. However, this album sounds as fresh as early birds in springtime. Songs of Gov’t Mule are paired with compositions written by James Brown, Wayne Shorter and Hottentot by John Scofield (first heard on the magnificent album A Go Go that John Scofield recorded with Medeski, Martin & Wood).

There is a nice review on AllAboutJazz that sums it up beautifully:

Sco-Mule isn’t a jazz album by any standard definition; it rocks way too hard for that. Still, with Scofield’s intuitive way of taking the music ever so slightly out, only to bring it back in again with the kind of effortless aplomb he’s developed in a career now entering its fifth decade as the guitarist moves into his mid-sixties, Sco-Mule ain’t your typical jam band album either. Instead, it sits somewhere in-between, with everyone forgetting about artificial delineation. Sco-Mule is, quite simply, great songs played by a terrific group that may have been performing live for the first time, but was already imbued with a profound connection that went deeper and broader than any one genre.

The album even comes in colourful cover art. If you buy the vinyl version (that sounds very good), you’ll even have two pieces of art (the cover and the music) that will stay with you for a long time.

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