P R E S S R E L E A S E S 2003
March 25, 2003
MASS MoCA Brings the Steaming Jazz of John Scofield to the Berkshires
(North Adams, Mass.) MASS MoCA hosts jazz legend John Scofield on Friday, April 25, at 8:00 P.M. as part of the annual Williamstown Jazz Festival. VH1 calls Scofield "one of the world's top guitarists," and he is universally regarded as one of the top three jazz guitarists playing today. Scofield and his band can leap effortlessly from genre to genre but are best known for soul, funk, and acid jazz. The Associated Press called them "a thinking person's jam band."
"We are very pleased to collaborate with the Williamstown Jazz Festival for the third year in a row," commented Jonathan Secor, MASS MoCA's director of performing arts, "and we're especially delighted to welcome John Scofield to the Hunter Center. He's a musician with a tremendous following, appealing to both a sophisticated audience of jazz fans who know his pioneering improvisations, and younger jam band fans who love his latest work and have seen him touring on the jam band circuit."
His 2002 release Überjam has been widely acclaimed, with Entertainment Weekly calling it "texturally varied and fiendishly funky." Billboard magazine said, "Scofield's latest groove-fest hits home in all the right places, from the feel-good rhythms that anchor the music to the solid jazz improvisations and appealing compositions at the heart of his funky excursion." The Boston Herald said, "Ranging joyfully from the depths of the gutbucket to the outer limits of space, Überjam is an überblast."
Raised in Connecticut, John Scofield began playing as a teenager. He attended Berklee College of Music and promptly made a name for himself in the highly competitive Boston music scene. His career is a virtual "who's who" of jazz music. He recorded with Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker at Carnegie Hall in his early career before receiving an invitation to join Billy Cobham as a replacement for John Abercrombie. Later he recorded with Charles Mingus, and joined Gary Burton's quartet and Dave Liebman's quintet before beginning his incredibly prolific solo career.
With renowned albums East Meets West and John Scofield Live in 1977, he began his solo career. Shinola, a mellow live album, features Scofield's mentor, Steve Swallow, on bass. In the '80s, Scofield was an integral part of Miles Davis' band and was featured on Decoy and You're Under Arrest, among others. He played with McCoy Tyner and Marc Johnson before recording Still Warm, the first of a series of albums on Gramavision which he followed up with Blue Matter, Pick Hits Live, Loud Jazz, and Flat Out. He switched to Blue Note for Time on My Hands, Meant to Be, Grace Under Pressure, Hand Jive, and Groove Elation. Regularly featured in Guitar Player magazine, he now records for Verve using major players such as Charlie Haden, Jack DeJohnette, Joe Lovano, and Eddie Harris. Scofield's most recent albums include A Go Go (1997), Works for Me (2001), and Überjam (2002).
Also in conjunction with the Jazz Festival, on Thursday, April 24, MASS MoCA will show a double feature as part of its Cinema Lounge series sponsored by Berkshire Gas. Two music documentaries, A Great Day in Harlem, based on the famous photo of a rare gathering of the pantheon of Harlem's 1920s jazz greats, and Setting the Record Straight, an homage to the often-overlooked blues violin trailblazer Papa John Creach, will make up the double feature. Tickets are $5.50, and the films start at 8:00 P.M., with doors opening at 7:00 P.M. for food and drink.
Before the films, MASS MoCA will offer a jazz tap class with Diane Walker. A masterful tap dancer herself, Walker has been active for years presenting and teaching jazz tap, its heritage, relation to the music, style, and individual artists. Walker was in residency in the Berkshires from 1997 through 1999 leading a community jazz tap program sponsored by Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival. The class will run from 5:30 until 7:00, and it is free, though space is limited and reservations are recommended.
The Williamstown Jazz Festival takes place from April 23 through 26. Other headline concerts include Kenny Barron's "Canta Brasil" featuring Romero Lubambo, Nilson Matta, Duduka da Fonseca and Anne Drummond in Chapin Hall on the Williams College campus at 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 26, and John Blake in concert on Wednesday, April 23, in the Clark Art Institute's auditorium at 8:00 P.M. Discounted packages for the Kenny Barron, John Scofield and John Blake concerts cost $45.00 for adults and $25.00 for students. Other Jazz Festival events include jazz tap classes, the annual collegiate jazz festival, a gospel concert and more. A complete schedule is available at www.williamstownjazz.org.
Tickets to John Scofield are $16 for adults, $10 for students, and $8 for kids. MASS MoCA members get 10% off. Tickets are available through the MASS MoCA Box Office located on Marshall Street in North Adams from 11 A.M. until 5 P.M. every day but Tuesday. Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 during Box Office hours or online at www.massmoca.org. Doors open at 7:00 P.M.
MASS MoCA, the largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts in the United States, is located on Marshall Street in North Adams on a 13-acre campus of renovated 19th-century factory buildings.
For Immediate Release