born on 26/12/1951 in Dayton, OH, United States
He has played and collaborated with Miles Davis, Dave Liebman, Joe Henderson, Charles Mingus, Joey DeFrancesco, Herbie Hancock, Eddie Palmieri, Pat Metheny, Bill Frisell, Joe Lovano, Pat Martino, Mavis Staples, Phil Lesh, Billy Cobham, Medeski Martin & Wood, George Duke, Jaco Pastorius, John Mayer, Robert Glasper, and Gov't Mule.
Scofield's family left Ohio and relocated to the small, then mostly rural town of Wilton, Connecticut; it was here that he discovered his interest in music.
Educated at the Berklee College of Music, Scofield eventually left school to record with Chet Baker and Gerry Mulligan. He joined the Billy Cobham/George Duke Band soon after and spent two years playing, recording and touring with them. He recorded with Charles Mingus in 1976, and replaced Pat Metheny in Gary Burton's quartet. Scofield received an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Berklee in 1997.
In 1976 Scofield signed with Enja Records and released his first album, John Scofield, in 1977. He recorded with pianist Hal Galper, first on his own solo album Rough House in 1978, and then on Galper's album Ivory Forest (1980), where he played a solo rendition of Thelonious Monk's "Monk's Mood".
In 1979 he formed a trio with his mentor Steve Swallow and Adam Nussbaum which, with drummer Bill Stewart replacing Nussbaum, has become the signature group of Scofield's career. In 1982, he joined Miles Davis, with whom he remained for three and a half years. He contributed tunes and guitar work to three of Davis's albums, Star People, Decoy, and You're Under Arrest. After he left Miles Davis, he released Electric Outlet (1984) and Still Warm (1985)
He started what is now referred to as his Blue Matter Band, with Dennis Chambers on drums, Gary Grainger on bass, and Mitchel Forman, Robert Aries, or Jim Beard on keyboards. The band released the albums Blue Matter, Loud Jazz and Pick Hits Live. Marc Johnson formed Bass Desires with Peter Erskine, and Bill Frisell. This "most auspicious [pairing] since John McLaughlin and Carlos Santana" was only transitory and recorded just two records, the self-titled Bass Desires and Second Sight (1986 and 1987).
At the beginning of the 1990s, Scofield formed a quartet that included Joe Lovano with whom he recorded several albums for Blue Note Records. Time on My Hands (1990), with Joe Lovano, Charlie Haden and Jack DeJohnette, showcased Scofield's guitar and Mingus-influenced writing. Bill Stewart became the group's drummer and played on Meant to Be (1991) and What We Do (1993). In 1992, Scofield released Grace Under Pressure, featuring fellow guitarist Bill Frisell, with Charlie Haden on bass and Joey Baron on drums. Stewart rejoined with Scofield and bassist Steve Swallow for the 1994 collaboration with Pat Metheny, I Can See Your House from Here.
Towards the end of his tenure with Blue Note, Scofield returned to a more funk and soul jazz-oriented sound, a direction which has dominated much of his subsequent output. In 1994 and 1995, he formed a group that included organist/pianist Larry Goldings, bassist Dennis Irwin, and alternately drummers, Bill Stewart and Idris Muhammad. The group toured extensively, and the albums Hand Jive and Groove Elation feature this funk/groove/soul-jazz dimension in Scofield's music, bringing in tenor saxophonist Eddie Harris, percussionist Don Alias, trumpeter Randy Brecker, and others. He recorded the acclaimed 1997 album A Go Go with the avant-garde jazz trio Medeski, Martin & Wood. Also during this period, his relationship began with British composer Mark-Anthony Turnage. First as a soloist on Turnage's Blood on the Floor: Elegy for Andy, the two paired up to create Scorched, Turnage's orchestrations of Scofield compositions largely form the Blue Matter period. Scorched, a recording available on Deutsche Grammophon, debuted in Frankfurt, Germany.
He released Überjam in 2002 and Up All Night in 2004, two albums on which he experiments with drum n bass and other modern rhythms. John Scofield has also worked and recorded in Europe with nu-fusionist Bugge Wesseltoft New Conception of Jazz in 2001/2 and 2006. Late 2004 saw the release of EnRoute: John Scofield Trio LIVE, which features the jazz trio of John Scofield, the venerable Steve Swallow on bass and Bill Stewart on drums. It was recorded live at The Blue Note in NYC in December 2003. The next year, he released That's What I Say: John Scofield Plays the Music of Ray Charles - Scofield with an all-star guest studded collection of Ray Charles material. This led to a series of performances with Mavis Staples, Gary Versace on organ, John Benitez on bass, and Steve Hass on drums.
After sitting in for two engagements in December (3rd & 4th) of 2005 with Phil Lesh and Friends, Scofield has since played numerous shows with the band.
On September 26, 2006 he released Out Louder, his second collaborative effort album with avant garde jazz trio Medeski, Martin & Wood. The group, known collectively as MSMW toured extensively worldwide in 2006 and 2007, with sporadic engagements planned in the future. Scofield also performs as a duo with John Medeski - aptly named The Johns and another groove trio with Scofield, Medeski and drummer Adam Deitch.
September 18, 2007 saw This Meets That released on EmArcy Records - Universal Music's jazz label, a record featuring Steve Swallow, Bill Stewart and a horn trio.
Scofield's 2010 release 54 had its origins in the 1990s when Vince Mendoza asked John Scofield to play on his first album. Scofield has since been featured on two of Mendoza's records. When Mendoza assumed directorship of The Metropole Orchestra, he and Scofield collaborated on a series of Mendoza's arrangements of Scofield compositions performed with The Metropole Orchestra.
In April 2010, Scofield was named an Officier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture.
Scofield is currently serving as an adjunct faculty member in the Jazz Department at New York University's Steinhardt School of Education.
He married Susan Scofield in 1978. They are the parents of music producer Jean Scofield (born 1981) and Evan Scofield (1987–2013).
Scofield endorses Ibanez guitars. His signature guitar, the JSM100, is based on his longtime stage and recording guitar, a 1981 Ibanez AS200. He uses either a Vox AC30 or Mesa Boogie amplifier. Some of his effects include a Pro Co RAT distortion pedal, an Ibanez CS9 Analog Chorus, a Line 6 FM4 Filter Modeler, a Line 6 DL4 Delay Modeler, a DigiTech XP100 Whammy/Wah, a Boss EQ Pedal, a Boss Loop Station, and a Boomerang phrase sampler pedal. He uses Dunlop Delrin 2 mm picks.
As leader and co-leader
- John Scofield (Trio (J), 1978), re-released as East Meets West (Black Hawk, 1987)
- John Scofield Live (Enja, 1977)
- Rough House (Enja, 1978)
- Who's Who? (Arista Novus, 1979)
- Four Keys with Martial Solal, Lee Konitz and Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (MPS, 1979)
- Bar Talk (Arista Novus, 1980)
- Shinola (Enja, 1981)
- Out Like a Light (Enja, 1981)
- Electric Outlet (Gramavision, 1984)
- Solar with John Abercrombie
- Still Warm (Gramavision, 1985)
- Blue Matter (Gramavision, 1986)
- All Strings Attached with Tal Farlow, J. Abercrombie, L. Carlton and L. Coryell (Verve, 1986)
- Loud Jazz (Gramavision, 1987)
- Pick Hits Live (Gramavision, 1987)
- Flat Out (Gramavision, 1989)
- Time on My Hands (Blue Note, 1990)
- Meant to Be (Blue Note, 1991)
- Grace Under Pressure (Blue Note, 1992)
- What We Do (Blue Note, 1993)
- Hand Jive (Blue Note, 1994)
- I Can See Your House from Here, with Pat Metheny (Blue Note, 1994)
- Groove Elation (Blue Note, 1995)
- Quiet (Verve, 1996)
- A Go Go with Medeski Martin & Wood (Verve, 1998)
- Old Folks with Kenny Garrett, Michael Brecker and David Friesen (West Wind, 1999)
- Shortcuts - Jazzpar Combo 1999 with Hans Ulrik, Lars Danielsson and Peter Erskine (Stunt, 1999)
- Bump (Verve, 2000)
- Works for Me (Verve, 2001)
- Überjam (Verve, 2002)
- Oh! as ScoLoHoFo (Blue Note, 2003)
- Up All Night (Verve, 2003)
- Scorched with Mark-Anthony Turnage (Deutsche Grammophon, 2004)
- John Scofield Trio LIVE EnRoute (Verve, 2004)
- That's What I Say: John Scofield Plays the Music of Ray Charles (Verve, 2005)
- Saudades as Trio Beyond (ECM, 2006)
- Out Louder as Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood (Indirecto, 2006)
- This Meets That (EmArcy, 2007)
- Piety Street (EmArcy, 2009)
- 54 with Vince Mendoza & Metropole Orchestra (EmArcy, 2010)
- A Moment's Peace (EmArcy, 2011)
- MSMW Live: In Case the World Changes Its Mind as Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood (EmArcy, 2011)
- Überjam Deux (EmArcy, 2013)
- Juice as Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood (Indirecto, 2014)
- Sco-Mule as Gov't Mule feat. John Scofield (Mascot, 2015)
- Past Present (Impulse!, 2015)
- Country for Old Men (Impulse!, 2016)
- Hudson with Jack DeJohnette, Larry Grenadier, and John Medeski (Motema Music, 2017)
- Slo Sco: The Best of the Ballads (Gramavision, 1990)
- Liquid Fire: The Best of John Scofield (Gramavision, 1994)
- Best of John Scofield (Blue Note, 1996)
- Steady Groovin': The Blue Note Groove Sides (Blue Note, 2000)
As a sideman
Albums listed alphabetically by group or artist's last name.
|1984||George Adams||More Sightings||Enja|
|1985||George Adams-Don Pullen Quartet||Live at Montmartre||Timeless|
|1988||Franco Ambrosetti||Movies Too||Enja|
|1988||Ray Anderson||Blues Bred in the Bone||Enja|
|1996||Teodross Avery||My Generation||Impulse!|
|1977||Chet Baker||You Can't Go Home Again||Horizon|
|1977||Chet Baker||The Best Thing for You||A&M|
|1979||Joe Beck & Larry Coryell||Tributaries||Arista Novus|
|1989||Richie Beirach||Some Other Time||Triloka|
|1985||Paul Bley||Hot||Soul Note|
|1988||Gary Burton||Times Like These||GRP|
|1992||Gary Burton||Six Pack||GRP|
|1989||Terri Lyne Carrington||Real Life Story||Verve Forecast|
|1991||Dennis Chambers||Getting Even||Glass House/Pioneer (Japan)|
|1975||Billy Cobham||A Funky Thide of Sings||Atlantic|
|1976||Billy Cobham||Life & Times||Atlantic|
|1978||Billy Cobham||Inner Conflicts||Atlantic||J. S. on two tracks|
|1976||Billy Cobham & George Duke||Live on Tour in Europe||Atlantic|
|1990||Bill Cosby & Friends||Where You Lay Your Head||Verve|
|1991||Lars Danielsson||Fresh Enough||L+R|
|1985||Miles Davis||You're Under Arrest||Columbia|
|1983||Miles Davis||Star People||Columbia|
|2002||Miles Davis||The Complete Miles Davis at Montreux 1973–1991||Warner Switzerland|
|1990||Joey DeFrancesco||Where Were You?||Columbia|
|1992||Jack DeJohnette||Music for the Fifth World||Capitol|
|2005||John Ellis||One Foot in the Swamp||Hyena|
|1991||Peter Erskine||Sweet Soul||Arista Novus|
|1994||David Friesen||Two for the Show||ITM Pacific|
|1979||Hal Galper||Ivory Forest||Enja|
|1988||Mike Gibbs Orchestra||Big Time||Venture|
|1981||Bill Goodwin||Solar Energy||Omni Sound Jazz|
|1999||Gov't Mule Featuring J. S.||Sco-Mule||Provogue||Released 2015|
|1977||Urbie Green||Señor Blues||CTI|
|1995||Herbie Hancock||The New Standard||Verve|
|1993||Jimmy Haslip||A R C||UMG|
|2003||Roy Haynes||Love Letters||Columbia|
|2010||Eddie Henderson||For All We Know||Furthermore|
|1993||Joe Henderson||So Near, So Far (Musings for Miles)||Verve|
|1997||Joe Henderson||Porgy & Bess||Verve|
|1999||Joe Henderson||Quiet Now: Lovesome Thing||Verve||J. S. on two tracks|
|1977||Terumasa Hino||May Dance||Flying Disk|
|1989||Terumasa Hino||Bluestruck||Blue Note|
|1986||Marc Johnson||Bass Desires||ECM|
|1987||Marc Johnson||Second Sight||ECM|
|2005||Marc Johnson||Shades of Jade||ECM|
|1991||Eero Koivistoinen||Altered Things||Timeless|
|1993||Lee Konitz||Rhapsody II||Evidence|
|1988||Niels Lan Doky||Daybreak||Storyville|
|2006||Phil Lesh and Friends||Live at the Warfield||Image|
|1979||Dave Liebman||Doin' It Again||Timeless|
|1980||Dave Liebman||If They Only Knew||Timeless|
|1980||Dave Liebman||What It Is||Columbia|
|1990||Manhattan Jazz Quintet||Manhattan Blues||Sweet Basil|
|1987||Ron McClure||Home Base||ODE|
|1979||Jim McNeely||The Plot Thickens||Muse|
|1989||Jim McNeely with the WDR Big Band||East Coast Blow Out||Lipstick|
|1971||Jay McShann||Big Apple Bash||New World|
|1977||Charles Mingus||Three or Four Shades of Blues||Atlantic|
|1974||Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker||Carnegie Hall Concert||CTI|
|1988||Missing Links||Groovin||MCA||Scofield on two tracks|
|1986||L'Orchestre National du Jazz||Orchestre National du Jazz '86||Label Bleu|
|1979||Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen||Dancing on the Tables||SteepleChase|
|1998||John Patitucci||Now||Concord Jazz|
|1983||Jim Pepper||Comin' and Goin'||Antilles|
|2002||Chris Potter||Traveling Mercies||Verve|
|1992||Knut Riisnæs & Jon Christensen||Knut Riisnæs – Jon Christensen Featuring John Scofield – Palle Danielsson||Odin|
|1988||Tommy Smith||Step by Step||Blue Note|
|1999||Tommy Smith||Blue Smith||Linn|
|1990||Harvie Swartz||In a Different Light||Blue Moon|
|1989||Gary Thomas||By Any Means Necessary||JMT|
|1998||Mark-Anthony Turnage||Blood on the Floor||Decca|
|1989||McCoy Tyner||Things Ain't What They Used to Be||Blue Note|
|1978||Miroslav Vitous||Guardian Angels||Trio (Japan)|
|1984||Bennie Wallace||Sweeping Through the City||Enja|
|1985||Bennie Wallace||Twilight Time||Blue Note|
|1987||Bennie Wallace||Art of the Saxophone||Denon|
|1987||Bennie Wallace||Border Town||Blue Note|
|1979||Jack Walrath||Demons in Pursuit||Gatemouth|
|2003||Bugge Wesseltoft||New Conception of Jazz Live||Jazzland|
|1995||Lenny White||Present Tense||Hip Bop|
|2007||Keller Williams||Dream||SCI Fidelity|
|2005||Eddie Palmieri||Listen Here!||Concord Records|
- 1998: Miles Davis Award, Montreal International Jazz Festival
- 2016: Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Past Present
- 2017: Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Country for Old Men
- 2017: Grammy Award for Best Improvised Jazz Solo, I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry
- Stern, Chip (March 2001). "John Scofield: Will the Real John Scofield Please Stand Up?". JazzTimes. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
- "John Scofield Music, News and Photos - AOL Music". Music.aol.com. Archived from the original on 2012-12-02. Retrieved 2013-07-05.
- Small, Mark. "BERKLEE | Berklee College of Music". Berklee.edu. Retrieved 2011-10-18.
- "All About Jazz Bio". Allaboutjazz.com. Archived from the original on 2008-09-05. Retrieved 2011-10-18.
- Yanow, Scott. "Yahoo Music artist Bio". Music.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2011-10-18.
- Yanow, Scott. "Ivory Forest - Hal Galper, Hal Galper Quartet". AllMusic. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
- "John Scofield Trio featuring Steve Swallow & Bill Stewart". Jazz St. Louis. Archived from the original on 28 September 2012. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
- Cf. John Scofield in an interview with John Kelman in 2011 for AllAboutJazz. Retrieved August 10, 2013
- Bass Desires at AllMusic. Retrieved November 11, 2012.
- Cole, Tom (27 December 2015). "For John Scofield, Everything Old Is New Again — Even The Hard Parts". NPR. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
- Tamarkin, Jeff. "Out Louder - Medeski, Scofield, Martin & Wood". AllMusic. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
- "Jazz Faculty: John Scofield". Steinhardt School of Education. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
- "John Scofield - Jazz Guitarist & Composer". Johnscofield.com. Archived from the original on 2012-02-08. Retrieved 2012-02-23.
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