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Joe Henderson - So Near, So Far


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I was listening to a 1990s-era album by Joe Henderson called So Near, So Far:  Musings on Miles.   It is a quartet album with guitar, bass, drums, and Joe.

It may have been an otherwise OK album, but the guitarist, a guy named John Scofield, is using the most horribly dated and stylistically inappropriate guitar sound, straight out of a 1980s Weather Channel smooth jazz bumper.  He sounds like a precocious 18-year-old at Sam Ash playing his Charlie Parker Omnibook licks on a budget-line Ibanez guitar through some sort of a stereo splitter with phase shifting. 

Anyway, it is completely inappropriate for the music, and I really wonder how Joe Henderson or the producer let this fly.  I would have fired the guy on the spot.

Back to the Goodwill you go, Joe!

Edited by Teasing the Korean
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I usually like but don’t always love Scofield’s sound (if I’m being honest, I probably rarely “love” it)…

That said, I think it actually works (or, rather, I quite like it) on So Near, So Far.

For one, it’s quite nice to hear Joe in a really rather different sort of context, in terms of timbre. I’ve also heard some circulating recordings of Joe with Scofield and this same (or nearly this same) rhythm section (sans piano) — but playing JOE’s regular songbook — and that stuff smokes!! I would LOVE if there were a legit live release of THAT band, let me tell you.

I’ve had as many Scofield discs over the years that I’ve traded away, as kept — so I get what people are saying.  But I really like the timbrel variety in this particular case, and the date is a winner in my book.

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I like him earlier, more than later. His first trio records (on Enja?) were fresh. As for the Joe album...it's neither plus nor minus for me, any of it (and Scofield was better actually playing with Miles than playing tribute to him...). I like his (Joe's) Jobim record MUCH better.

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1 hour ago, Rabshakeh said:

I'm Team Pro Sco. 

Yeah. Me too.

I don't love everything he's done, but -- on the plus side -- he doesn't sound like anyone else.   

So many jazz guitarists trying to sound like Kenny Burrell or Jim Hall or Pat Metheny.  Not Sco.  He's got his own sound, instantly identifiable.

 

43 minutes ago, JSngry said:

I like him earlier, more than later. His first trio records (on Enja?) were fresh. 

Yeah, those Enja records are strong.  Live with Richie Beirach.  And Rough House.  Oh yeah.

IMO, there's a dip during Sco's time on Gramavision.  But I think his stuff since then is (often) excellent. 

... Just one dude's take.

 

BTW, I've never heard JoeHen's So Near, So Far.  I'm no help re: that particular record. ;) 

 

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48 minutes ago, Jason Bivins said:

Bad take on Sco. So he uses a chorus pedal. He's a terrific player. I don't care for the chorus that much but it doesn't mar my appreciation for his work.

I have more albums than I have time to play them.  I don't have the room in my life for 1980s Weather Channel smooth jazz guitar sounds.  At least when I hear it on the Weather Channel, I know how to dress that day.

Edited by Teasing the Korean
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On a related note, how the hell has it been nearly 30 years(!) since this album came out?  I got all four band members to sign it, at four entirely separate concerts (well, come to think of it, I got Al Foster to sign it one of the times I saw him with Joe, so at three concerts).

And I was 24 when that album came out (which is when it got it, the very week it came out). That album is now 5 years older (now), than I was at the time it came out.  Boggles the mind, how time flies.

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I am a huge Adams/Pullen fan, most people who are also into Adams/Pullen that I know tend to not like the live lp with Scofield included. I like it and wish there were more examples of people sitting in with Adams/Pullen (excepting the concert with Archie Shepp joining, it’s awful).

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9 minutes ago, Rooster_Ties said:

On a related note, how the hell has it been nearly 30 years(!) since this album came out?  I got all four band members to sign it, at four entirely separate concerts (well, come to think of it, I got Al Foster to sign it one of the times I saw him with Joe, so at three concerts).

And I was 24 when that album came out (which is when it got it, the very week it came out). That album is now 5 years older (now), than I was at the time it came out.  Boggles the mind, how time flies.

Indeed - I bought it back then and it is shocking how those 30 years have flown past. I think I picked it up on one of those free CD offers from the Canada BMG Club. Those were the days !

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I run hot 'n cold on Sco generally, but have no problem with him although there are other places I've liked him better.  He's representing the '80s era when he played with Miles - that's the idea of the album, Joe Hen playing with guys from different eras of Miles Davis bands - so his tone is totally appropriate.  And the OP is trolling out of season as far as I'm concerned.

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I kinda like So Near, So Far, but I think the sound of Scofield works better in Porgy & Bess.

Also, I think Scofield shines when he plays the acoustic guitar.

 

Edited by mhatta
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27 minutes ago, Teasing the Korean said:

I'm trolling for pointing out what I feel is a grossly inappropriate guitar sound on a straight-ahead jazz album?  

It's all just opinion anyway. As Cedric The Entertainer once said "it ain't that bad". :alien:

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3 hours ago, Teasing the Korean said:

I'm trolling for pointing out what I feel is a grossly inappropriate guitar sound on a straight-ahead jazz album?  

No, it's not a "straight-ahead jazz album". It's a staged production, a tribute/concept record, not a document of "straight-ahead jazz" playing.

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6 minutes ago, JSngry said:

No, it's not a "straight-ahead jazz album". It's a staged production, a tribute/concept record, not a document of "straight-ahead jazz" playing.

I understand that, but the Weather Channel guitar sound is not conducive to the album's overall stylistic bag, staged or not.  If others like the sound, that is great, but I don't plan on spinning it again.

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It's far from being a favorite of mine, but not because of John Scofield. It jsut never gets a pocket, that's all. I blame the overall environment, not any one player.

btw - if you like Weather Channel music, here: https://twcclassics.com/

There are quite extensive playlists w/samples. Both John Scofiled and Jackie Gleason are included.

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