Twang Time: Scofield Explores Country Music on New Album


John Scofield in a still from a video on the making of Country For Old Men (Impulse!/Verve).

(Photo: )

Following his Grammy win in the category Best Instrumental Jazz Album for his 2015 recording, Past Present (Impulse!/Verve), guitarist John Scofield is set to release Country For Old Men, an exploration of country music, on Sept. 23.

The new album, also on Impulse!/Verve, includes 12 songs, including compositions by Hank Williams, Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard and James Taylor.

Produced by Scofield, the album will feature the guitarist alongside Steve Swallow on bass, Larry Goldings on keyboards and Bill Stewart on drums. The ensemble applies a sleek post-bop veneer to Williams’ “I’m So Lonely I Could Cry,” Parton’s “Jolene,” Haggard’s “Mama Tried” and Taylor’s “Bartender’s Blues.”

The compositions on the album span decades, ranging from “I’m An Old Cowhand”—which was written by Johnny Mercer and recorded by Bing Crosby with Jimmy Dorsey & His Orchestra in 1936—to “You’re Still The One,” a 1998 hit that was recorded by Shania Twain (and which she co-wrote with her then-husband and producer, Mutt Lang).

Scofield will promote the album by hitting the road from September to November for an international tour. Dates span major cities in the United States and Europe, including a weeklong run at New York City’s Blue Note jazz club (Sept. 27–Oct. 2).

Prior to the New York dates, Scofield will perform selections from the album at the Esslingen Jazz Fest in Germany (Sept. 16) and the Berklee Performance Center in Boston (Sept. 23).

Scofield, who appeared with saxophonist Joe Lovano on the cover of DownBeat’s November 2015 issue, has recorded more than three dozen albums as a leader. As a sideman, he has toured and recorded with jazz luminaries such as Charles Mingus, Miles Davis, Chet Baker, George Duke, Joe Henderson, Billy Cobham and Herbie Hancock.

When not on the road, Scofield serves as an adjunct professor of music at New York University.

To view a trailer showing some of the recording sessions for Country For Old Men, visit Scofield’s website.

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