It is the last concert of the last night of this year’s installation of Jazzkaar. People stream into Vaba Lava concert hall and fill almost every seat – the excitement is high among the audience. Guitar legend John Scofield has assembled world famous instrumentalists Bill Stewart on drums and Vicente Archer on bass to form his Combo 66. After quickly tuning their strings Scofield counted in and the band started the concert with an uptempo swing tune. From the first tone onwards each player soloed intensively, traded eights and fours, as well as showed off their impressive skills. The intensely concentrated Archer provided fast walking bass lines and time-bending solo passages while Stewart shone through with his melodic and polyrhythmic style, as well as through one of his own tunes. Scofield contributed most melody and solo ideas; all presented in his very unique and celebrated way of playing the guitar. The many musicians and enthusiasts in the audience where left slack-jawed and nailed to their seats by the bands virtuosity.
The trio presented a multitude of Scofield’s original tunes like Memorette, Green Tea, Travel John, and Chariots taken from his many albums. Moreover, they also presented interpretations of tunes like But Beautiful by Stan Getz and Bill Evans, and a composition titled F U Donald by drummer Stewart – apparently inspired by a current high-ranking US politician.
The audience appreciated the band and politely applauded after each tune and solo section. Nonetheless, the players seemed very concentrated and did not communicate much throughout the concert. Even Scofield himself did not have much to say in between songs. Even though the band performed at a high-energy level the audience seemed to somehow hold back a bit, only slowly warming up and increasing the duration and intensity of their applause and cheering. They nonetheless celebrated the evening and the band with a standing ovation after they had played their last tune New Waltzo from the 2018 self-titled release Combo 66.
After a minute the musicians came out once more to play a jazzy interpretation of George Jones’ classic A Girl I Used To Know before this year’s edition of Jazzkaar was officially over. It was not in all regards perfect, but worthwhile and inspiring concerts by some of jazz’s biggest figures.
John Scofield Combo 66 (USA)
Sunday April 28, 2019 19:00 – Vaba Lava
John Scofield – guitar
Vicente Archer – bass
Bill Stewart – drums
See photos from the concert here.