New band, new album, but the same old John Scofield--thank goodness. With his rawboned sound, a rhythmic drive born of the rhythm and blues that gave rise to rock, and a solo style that combines complex enterprise with straightforward communication, Scofield remains among the most listenable--in fact, most compelling--contemporary improvisers. Few guitarists have had as strong a hand in shaping the way their contemporaries will sound. What's more, Scofield and his music have matured to the point where he can share the spotlight with an improviser fully his equal. And that's where saxophonist Joe Lovano comes in. Lovano glories in a muscular improvisational style and a rounded tone, making him one of the few modern tenor men who doesn't sound like Michael Brecker. (Thank goodness for that, too.) Lovano is still somewhat underrecognized, although one wonders how long that can last: his recent contributions to albums led by Charlie Haden, Bill Frisell, Tom Harrell, Paul Motian, and now Scofield should lift the veil on him for good. He joins bassist Marc Johnson and drummer Bill Stewart in a superlative band, Scofield's best yet: the music keeps threatening to burst its formal restraints but never quite does, and the resulting tension is tangible and essential. Saturday, 7:30 and 10 PM, Cubby Bear, 1059 W. Addison; 327-1662.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Deborah Feingold.