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An exploration into John Scofield‟s utilization of blues language within a jazz improvisational context
“When I was 14 I was a Blues snob and I listened to BB King; that was it. I liked Howlin' Wolf, BB King, Little Walter, Muddy Waters, Freddy King, Albert King. And then I got into jazz and I've listened to everybody.” John Scofield(Brannon)
Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Music Performance (Honours)
University of Melbourne Faculty of the Victorian College of the Arts and Music
Declaration of Originality
This dissertation contains no material that has been accepted for the award of any other degree or diploma in any other university and to the best of my knowledge, contains no material previously published or written by any other person except where due reference is made in the text.
Acknowledgments I would like to thank Ashley Cross and Elizabeth Mitchell for their time, patience and guidance throughout this year.
Table of contents 1 Introduction 1.1 Aims and Objectives...............................................................................................pg 9 1.2 Structure of the thesis.............................................................................................pg 9 1.3 Methodology..........................................................................................................pg 11 2 Chapter 1- Analysis of selected elements of the blues language 2.1 Blues scale and the blue note.................................................................................pg 12 2.2 Expressive Techniques...........................................................................................pg 21 Time feel Bending Vibrato Timbre 3 Chapter 2- An analysis of John Scofields improvisatory style 3.1 Background...........................................................................................................pg 30 3.2 General observations.............................................................................................pg 31 3.3 Analysis.................................................................................................................pg 37 3.4 Analysis of “All the Things You Are”..................................................................pg 38 General Bending and blue notes Timbre Analysis of “Wee”..................................................................................................pg 42 General Bending and blue notes Timbre Conclusion.............................................................................................................pg 45 Appendix 1.............................................................................................................pg 47 Transcription of “All the Things You Are” 4 Appendix 2.............................................................................................................pg 52 5 Transcription of “ Wee”
List of Figures Figure 1: Blues Scale Figure 1.1: excerpt taken from Muddy waters recording of “I Can‟t Be Satisfied” Figure 1.2a: excerpt taken from Howling Wolf‟s recording of “Going Down Slow” Figure 1.2b: excerpt taken from Howling Wolf‟s recording of “Going Down Slow” Figure 1.3: excerpt taken from B.B King‟s recording of “You Upsets Me Baby” Figure 1.4: excerpt taken from Little Walter‟s recording of “Rocker” Figure 2: excerpt taken from B.B King‟s recording of “Paying The Cost To Be The Boss” Figure 2.1: excerpt taken from B.B King‟s recording of “Crying Won‟t Help You” Figure 3: excerpt taken from Muddy Waters recording of “Louisiana Blues” Figure 3.1: excerpt taken from B.B King‟s recording of “The Thrill is Gone” Figure 4: excerpt taken from John Scofield‟s recording of “Not You Again” Figure 4.1: excerpt taken from John Scofield‟s recording of “Not You Again” FIGURE 4.2: excerpt taken from John Scofield‟s recording of “Flat Out” Figure 4.3: excerpt taken from John Scofield‟s recording of “All The Things You Are” Figure 4.4: excerpt taken from John Scofield‟s recording of “Flat Out”
2b Track 4: Fig 1. Chess label Track 12: Little Walter Rocker released 1965.4 Track 6: Fig 2 Track 7: Fig 2. released 1989. Gramavision Label Track 21: John Scofield.4 Track 20: John Scofield. released 1987.2a Track 3: Fig 1. Kent label Track 14: Fig 4 Track 15: Fig 4. Chess label Track 11: Muddy Waters Mannish Boy released June 1955.1 Track 8: Fig 3 Track 9: Fig 3.1 Track 16: Fig 4.1 Track 10: Howling Wolf. Wee.3 Track 19: Fig 4.1 Track 2: Fig 1. Gramavision label Track 18: Fig 4. There Will Never Be Another You. Smoke Stack Lightning released March 1956. All The Things You Are. released 2004.Audio Tracks (accompanying Compact Disc) Track 1: Fig 1.2 Track 17: Roberto Gatto. Verve label 6 .3 Track 5: Fig 1.B king Sweet Sixteen released 1960. Chess label Track 13: B.
I think blues is really powerful music. For me it‟s really hard to separate between jazz or fusion. Muddy Waters. rhythm & blues.. He has managed to fuse the constructive elements.Introduction “I am totally in debt to the blues. Whilst jazz guitarists and jazz musicians generally have always sourced inspiration from the blues. creating one of the most unique and recognisable guitar styles in jazz. or rock music.. Scofield however. grew up during the 1960s and was exposed to the music of Muddy Waters. Jimi Hendrix and a plethora of other blues artists. 1993) and “Urban”(Tirro.. distinctive techniques.B. of polished and consistent artistry to the blues genre and were a major influence on the development of jazz.I think I was one of the first to seriously try to incorporate that element. which traditionally have been perceived as being apart the jazz idiom. the blues plays a prominent role in his improvisational style. 8 . I think all those elements are in my music. B. Creatively embracing these influences within a straight ahead jazz context is one of the features that make Scofield‟s voice on the instrument unique. In a way. blues. while broadening the tonal palette of the instrument. Though Scofield is a masterful jazz improviser. 1993) represented by artists such as Bessie Smith and Louie Armstrong.. 1993) blues. These bluesmen fall under the category put forward by Tirro as “Country”(Tirro. Dave Liebman. and idiosyncratic traits of the blues with the harmonic sophistication of jazz. Joe Henderson. it was derived from far more mellow influences stemming back to what Frank Tirro terms as “classic blues “(Tirro. Although other jazz guitarists such as Wes Montgomery and Jim Hall reflected elements of the blues in their playing. it is the opinion of the author that John Scofield‟s embedded blues language manifests from different influences than his jazz predecessors. Classic blues artists brought a degree of professionalism. the phrasing of blues and rock.B King. with the be-bop chords and changes. echoing influences of such artists as B. Charles Mingus and Herbie Hancock. Albert King. Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton.” John Scofield (Weisethuanet) John Scofield (1951) is considered to be one of the most influential jazz guitarists of the modern era and has collaborated with some of the most influential names in jazz including Miles Davis. King. the good blues.
John Scofield. the blues is often seen in jazz circles as “merely a predecessor to jazz”(Paul oliver) and is rarely considered as a topic for serious research. it aims to answer the following principal questions: 1) What is the “Blues Language”? 2) Which distinctive elements of the blues idiom permeate Scofield‟s style? 3) How are these elements used in his improvisational process? The author believes that an in-depth examination of John Scofield‟s style is a pertinent area of study for three main reasons. In focusing on the blues aspect contained within John Scofield‟s style. there is a noticeable lack of any academic research into his improvisational style. This undertaking will include audio clips and transcriptions of specific musical examples from various blues artists. the main area of focus for this dissertation will be his improvisational style. along with Bill Frisell and Pat Metheny have had a significant impact on guitarists of their epoch and on those who have followed. 1996). harmonic language. Firstly. and reaffirms the fundamental aesthetic principles of the jazz idiom”(De Stefano. Finally. 9 . John Coltrane (Porter 1983). This thesis is divided into two principal sections each comprising several sub headings. contributing greatly to the popularization of the instrument in the jazz idiom. rhythm. Scofield has developed his own sound “which conforms to. the author attempts to illuminate not only what makes John Scofield an extraordinary individualistic artist but also affirm the blues as a complex and valid art form that demands significant investigation.The purpose of this dissertation is to establish to what extent John Schofield utilizes blues language in a straight ahead jazz improvisational context. Secondly. Yet despite Scofield‟s significant contribution to the music. Although much can be said about John Scofield‟s compositional output which also features blues elements. and Lester Young (Gushee 1977). The first section will be an analysis of the blues from an historic and stylistic standpoint and give detailed explanations of blues tone colour. Charlie Parker (Owens 1974). The investigation of this individualism is central to jazz and can be demonstrated by the abundance of doctoral dissertations which investigate the improvisational styles of leading jazz musicians: Art Tatum (Howards 1978). articulations. melody and phrasing. More specifically. Sonny Rollins (Blanq 1977).
The solos that will form the impetus for this investigation will be from John Scofield‟s recording of “All the Things You Are”(Hammerstein. 1949). 10 . These tunes are comprised of chord changes that are common to the musical repertoires of jazz musicians and are widely known and performed. 1939) and “Wee”(Best.Section two delves into how John Scofield utilises blues language while improvising within a straight ahead jazz structure. This will be achieved through the analysis of specific transcriptions.
An important part of the style analysis process is transcription. In these cases the reader will be directed to specific audio examples that accompany this dissertation. interviews with John Scofield as well as significant blues figures and journal articles. The authors aim was to form a rational and methodical approach for the examination of the blues language and the improvisational style of John Scofield. placement. feel and dynamics as well as melodic and harmonic considerations. This subsequently led to a deeper understanding of John Scofield‟s utilisation of blues elements in his improvisations. However. the author engaged a variety of resources including: a number of masters and doctoral level dissertations on significant jazz artists. providing greater clarity while examining nuance. a professor of music at Berklee College of Music. 11 .brucesaunder. Many of the musical examples have been transcribed in their entirety. 1949) was transcribed by Bruce Saunders. while others only contain a select number of choruses or relevant measures. The majority of the musical examples were transcribed note for note from the respective recordings.com. the transcription of John Scofield‟s solo on “Wee” (Best. Lawrence Gushee and Charles Keil. This dissertation employs style analysis as the primary method of inquiry and investigates all aspects and traits of the musical spectrum including tone. and the author made all attempts to maintain a high level of accuracy both in expressive detail and consistent notational practices. In some instances. rhythm.” which allowed the recordings of each excerpt to be slowed to a tempo where the highest accuracy could be achieved. and was acquired from his website www. via practices derived from musicology and jazz scholarship along with jazz performance and practice. While transcribing the excerpts and solos used for this dissertation the author utilised a program called “Amazing Slow Downer. Throughout this procedure the author has incorporated well-known guidelines for „style analysis‟ that have been articulated by music scholars such as Jan La Rue. certain musical examples were analysed aurally due to visual transcription being deemed unnecessary.Methodology In order to establish well-defined and accurate representations of the blues language and its use within Scofield‟s improvisational style.
which strongly believes in the sanctity of intonation. The aim of this chapter is to discuss in detail specific elements of the blues language including blues scale usage. demonstrating discrepancies in pitch that stray from the norm in regards to the Western notational system. approach. These notes could best be described as “Pitch Complexes”1(Titon) or tonal areas. (Tirro. the blue note. dynamics. 1993) The blues is an African American music that transverses a wide range of emotion and musical styles and can differ in mood.The Blues Language A style analysis of selected elements of the blues “The blues is a personal state made in musical terms which is nevertheless valid for all members of society”. which informs the mood of the blues genre. texture and common phrases. 12 . fifth and seventh. timbre. meaning neither major of minor and are almost impossible to show accurately using Western musical notation. and style of delivery. 1 Pitch complexes refer to the microtonal increments of pitch that surround any given note. a characteristic not common to his jazz guitar predecessors. It will be shown that Scofield‟s use of these elements definitively echoes the blues styles of early delta. expressive techniques and articulations. electric blues and R&B artists. theme. The scale includes three intervals that are varied in pitch: the third. Each of these three scale degrees seem to be neutral. Blues Scale and the Blue Note An important characteristic of the blues language is the blues scale or mode.
The transcriptions do not and cannot accurately express the sonic nature of the performances. it would be impossible to encapsulate the entire scope of the blues language through the analysis of any one blues performance. However. When attempting to grasp an understanding of how the blues scale is used it is useful to examine how the particular scale degrees function in a musical context. but rather as a very different configuration of pitches”(Ripani). Therefore the following collection of musical examples presents a cross section of the blues language. 13 . the blues scale presented in figure 1 would exist in isolation. Furthermore. The point here is to grasp the notion that the pitches which lay between the notes in the Western Tempered system are included in the range of notes available to a blues performer. It is best to view this scale as a model that delineates the basic pitches of a highly intricate blues mode. which is one of the frustrations when attempting to show these blues language using traditional Western musical notation. with a view to highlighting the nuance of the music in as much detail as possible given the constraints of this dissertation.Figure 1 “It is necessary that the blues scale be perceived not as simply an alteration of the Western Systemnot a major scale with a few notes changed. It would be naive to state that in a blues performance. it is beyond the scope of this thesis to accurately measure the variations in pitch that are presented in these musical examples as well as it being deemed unnecessary.
line to line. 14 . “The harmonic foundation of blues. rock and some jazz styles in emic terms and performance practice. For the most part the academic fraternity has held the view that the „blue note‟ is an alteration of the western major scale. 1993) In fact the „blue note‟ is not really a note at all in the ordinary. R&B and jazz. That is. with the third. in particular the styles of blues. rather than random pitches come from Jeff Titon. These micro-tones are often seen as impure by Western musicologists. the flattened or slightly lowered third and seventh degrees in a major scale. but is rather a movement or a melodic tendency. “A frequently mentioned characterisation of U.”(Tirro. In other words these so called „blue notes‟ would not necessarily be considered to be „flattened‟ by an individual performer but simply the right note for that particular situation.These pitch discrepancies are often referred to as „blue notes‟ and are central to the blues language. but it‟s the constant interplay between these pitches and the Tempered Western Tonal system that create the essence of the blues sound. “The most important argument that these quarter-tones form distinct pitches in a down home blues mode is that singers enter and move within the complexes in a manner reasonably consistent from phrases to phrase. and stanza to stanza throughout a given song”(Titon) What can be taken from this statement by Titon is that there is a high level of consistency to how these pitches are used by blues musicians in performance practice.S Negro songs is the so called „blue note‟. fifth and seventh scale degree flattened. gospel. it does not have fixed pitch relationships to its neighbours. The concept of the „blue note‟ is among the most frequently repeated formulae used when describing the harmonic foundation of American music. in fact represent both a totally different conception of harmony to that of western functional harmony and also represents a different comprehension of dissonance/consonance in music”(Weisethuanet). sense of the word. A significant argument for these „blue notes‟ or micro-tones being part of a distinct harmonic system.
which is a common tool for the early blues guitarist (this will be discussed in greater detail in the expressive techniques chapter). As in bars 1. Bar 7 illustrates how blues musicians manipulate the 7th of a chord as well as exemplifying the vocal like qualities that can be achieved on the guitar. In bar 9 the note (G) changes from the tonic to the 5th of the sub dominant chord C dominant 7. Bar 4 shows another often heard blues device.Figure 1. who was both a singer and guitarist. This varied 7th degree is neutral in its function and once again demonstrates the micro tonalities available in the blues language. 3 and 5 the third seems to sit somewhere between B flat and B natural. 1948) and is a prime example of the blues language. The resulting sound of the two notes combined is an excellent example of blues dissonance. Waters alternates between the flat 5th and the natural 5th. and pitch.1 is taken from Muddy Waters‟ tune “I can‟t be satisfied” (Morganfield. This slide can then be moved along the string without lifting. 15 . In this example the third of the tonic chord (B) is sounded simultaneously with the tonic note (G). Waters slides up to the tonic note (G) from the flat 7 (F natural) and returns to a pitch that sits between the flat 7th and the natural 7th. 3 and 5 Waters slides up to the fifth (D) and the third (B) of the tonic chord (G). a clear demonstration of the notion of pitch complexes or tonal areas within one note. taking full advantage of the available variations in pitches along the way. Instead of altering the pitch of the strings in the normal manner (by pressing the string against frets). was an innovator of the blues genre and is a master of evoking the sound and essence of the blues. Muddy Waters. 2 A slide is a glass or metal piece of tubbing that is placed over the finger of a guitarist. He primarily used a slide2 or a bottleneck in his left hand in order to obtain the graduations in pitch he required. The third in particular seems to be sitting somewhere between B flat and B natural. the „double stop‟. a slide is placed upon the string to vary its vibrating length. creating continuous transitions in pitch. In bars 1.
Employing a string bend (see expressive techniques and articulation chapter) Sumlin moves from the flat 5th to the sharp 5th before returning to the natural 5th creating a very distinct lyrical melody utilising microtones. Once Sumlin reaches the root note (D) he releases the bend to a pitch that lays somewhere between the natural 7th and the flat 7th.1 (Track 1) Figure 1. This concept is illustrated once again in bar 3 over the D7 chord.Figure 1.2a is another example of quintessential blues guitar playing by Hubert Sumlin and is taken from Howling Wolf‟s recording of “Going Down Slow” (Oden. 16 . Bar 1 begins with an example of how blues musicians use the small pitch increments between notes to create melodic interest. then returns to the root note (D). 1942). In this example the root note (D) is approached from the flat 7th (C) via a full tone string bend.
17 .Figure 1. thus giving weight to the notion that the manipulation of pitch variation has clear intention and is not random.2b is taken from the same recording and further demonstrates how Hubert Sumlin exploits pitch complexes to great effect. 3 In genres such as blues. jazz. rock and country the term lick refers to a stock pattern or phrase. This lick3 is repeated again later in the solo with almost identical intonation.2a (Track 2) Figure 1. Here Sumlin rapidly alternates between the 5th and the flat 5th to create a „flurry‟ effect.
This can be further illustrated in 18 . Given B.3. however this time the (B) flat note is bent upwards to a pitch that is slightly below the natural 3rd (B). The first four bars are played over a G dominant chord.B King‟s renowned facility to control bends it is the authors opinion that the slightly lowered 5ths are not „mistakes‟ or „out of tune‟ notes. but rather constitute the implementation of a harmonic concept that embraces microtones. 1954).2b (Track 3) This example. In bar 6 the flattened 3rd is once again sounded over the (G) dominant chord. A dominant chord contains a natural 3rd scale degree (B). figure 1. Another interesting feature of this example is King‟s treatment of the 5th degree of the G dominant 7th chord.Figure 1. and King repeatedly plays the flattened 3rd (B flat) over this tonality.B Kings solo introduction to “You Upsets Me Baby” (King. King bends from the 4th (C) up to a pitch that is slightly lower that the 5th (D) then sounds a (D) note on the adjacent string. is a transcription of B.
Figure 1. then sounding the natural 5th (G) on the adjacent string.3 (Track 4) 19 . King executes a bend to a note that lays somewhere between the 4th (F) and the flattened 5th (G flat) before continuing up the flat 5th.bar 8 where over a C 7th chord.
The flattened 9th tonality throughout this extract may also be perceived as the flat 5th of the tonic chord. Over the sub. which is the flat 7th of the A 7th.while music continues 20 . 1965) by blues harmonica player Little Walter. Figure 1. Walter pedals4 the 5th of an E dominant 7th chord (B) while alternating between the flattened 3rd (G) and the natural 3rd (G sharp).4 (Track 5) 4 The term pedal refers to a single note held or repeated.Example 1.4 is a transcribed extract from a solo on the song „Rocker‟(Jacobs.dominant chord (A7) the (B) pedal is lowered to (B flat) creating a flat 9th tonality. while the (G sharp) is lowered to (G). exploring the micro-tonal possibilities that the language allows. becoming the 5th of the (E) 7th chord. The flat 9th (B flat) is gradually bent up towards (B) natural.
when talking about how a harmonica player such as Little Walter bends tones. 7 Falsetto is a method of voice production used by male singers in order to sing notes higher than their normal range 21 . turning attention away from the song as product of a deliberate and often arduous process of composition. This discussion will not focus on the actual physical movements required to create these techniques. This is particularly important as it recognises the improvisational aspect of the blues.Expressive Techniques and Timbre In this section the techniques and articulations used to create the nuance and inflection required to navigate through the various pitch complexes available to blues musicians are discussed. Blues musicians also experiment with sound quality or timbre. articulations and timbrel variations in greater detail. These elements of the blues language “create the impression that the thoughts. however. For example. not the tonguing technique used to create the bend. screams and wailing to convey pain. either upwards or downwards in order to alter the pitch of a note. feelings. Throughout this discussion musical examples will be given to illustrate the various 5 String bend refers to the act of a musician pulling a string. towards the performance itself and the personality and uniqueness of the performer” (Evans). tonal or textural applications. Instrumentalists employed techniques such as string bends5 and vibrato6 to emulate the „blue‟ notes heard in the African vocal style of the field holler. Blues instrumentalists also emulate other vocal characteristics found in blues and gospel music such as melismas and falsetto7 by harnessing elements such as feedback. this section will explore these expressive techniques. distortion and slurs. but rather their application in the music. the focal point will be the harmonic. Some of the techniques listed above have been mentioned earlier in connection with other elements of the blues. forming a clear link with jazz. 6 Vibrato produced on a string instrument by cyclic hand movements. and expressions of the moment were quite important. along with the timbrel variations blues musicians draw upon. joy or anger. using growls.
and beat to beat”.”(Keil) What is meant by Keil here is that swing is derived from the constant interplay of idiosyncratic time discrepancies such as hesitation. nonetheless. must be „out of time‟ or „out of tune‟. The concept of swing is complex. Ripani describes swing as something that “often exists between the beats on the printed page. Another concept that is tied into the notion of swing is syncopation or off beat phrasing. the notion of swing or groove is a defining feature of the blues that warrants discussion. and it imparts ambiguity to the rhythmic structure‟‟(Ripani). anticipation or relaxed dynamics against a strong rhythmic pulse. and constantly changes. and is made even more difficult due to Western musical notation being largely ineffective in accurately depicting swing. Charles Keil puts forward “The power of music is in its participatory discrepancies. and these are basically of two kinds: processual (time feel) and textural (timbre). In his study of swing. Therefore the sample of techniques and timbrel effects discussed is quite narrow while the definitions and uses are general and broad.techniques and how they are utilised in performance practice. the Blues is built upon a sophisticated rhythmic language. Music. Time Feel/ Rhythm As with all African American music. measure to measure. As blues musicians possess a comprehensive rhythmic vocabulary. Due to written notation being largely ineffective in accurately depicting such things as micro tonality. there is an almost infinite amount of rhythmic sub divisions that could be illustrated by various musical examples. Off beat 22 . to be personally involving and socially valuable. emotional measurement. The way a blues musician manipulates these discrepancies in time is a significant factor in establishing individual identity on an instrument. The overall effect is a musical phrase that “floats over the underlying beat. it has been deemed unnecessary in this context. the following examples can be found on the accompanying audio compact disc with time indicators representing the particular phrases or passages being discussed. expressive techniques and sound quality. Attempting to list all of these rhythmic sub divisions is not only a monumental task. This section is by no means a definitive catalogue of expressive techniques and timbrel variations found in the blues language as it is beyond the scope and focus of this dissertation to attempt to list and define them all.This ambiguity creates swing due to its intentional at-oddness with the basic rhythmic pulse.
However. as it is with all African American derived music. Bends are not only used to produce the microtonal graduations in pitch that are a part of the harmonic template used in the blues system. “a composer of European music typically incorporates off beat phrasing in an effort to introduce something out of the ordinary. There are many ways that a blues instrumentalist can bend notes in order to evoke the musical expression that is an essentially a vocally derived element of the blues language. therefore such terms as full tone bends and half tones bends do little to convey the rich diversity of bending in real life performance situations.phrasing is an essential ingredient of the blues rhythmic language. 1968) which is a classic example of how bending is employed within a blues performance. To categorize all the different types of bends such as whole bends and pre bends would be quite a sizeable task. The specific techniques used to create these bends differ from instrument to instrument but their application remains the same. however. Ripani asks the question: “what are the specific differences in the use of offbeat phrasing in the blues system from that of syncopation in the European system?‟‟ He concludes that the fundamental difference between the two. The bends utilised within this track aren‟t just thrown in for good measure or as an effect. but are a key ingredient in personifying a blues performance. Figure 2 is the introductory guitar solo from B. is that off beat phrasing occurs as a regular and essential element of the blues. During a blues performance any note may be bent up or down depending on the desired harmonic tension in a particular expressive situation. It is important to keep in mind that when dealing with microtonal playing there are a multitude of pitches that a particular note or notes could be bent up to or away from. only the bends relevant to the particular music examples will be discussed. it has commonly been stated that the syncopation found in American music has its roots in Africa and that Western art music has had no significant impact on this particular element of the blues.B King‟s “Paying the Cost to Be the Boss”(King. rather they 23 .‟‟ (Ripani) Bending Bending tones on instruments to create tension and release or to imply a blues tonality can be traced back to the turn of the century and the early development of the blues. as such.
Bars 3 and 4 sees King bend the flattened 3rd (D) up to a note that is situated somewhere between (D) and the natural 3rd (D#). When trying to describe these bending examples. B.are interwoven into the fabric of B. King bends the flattened third of the B7 chord (D) up to a tone just below the natural 3rd (D#) then in the same movement bends the 4th (E) up to a note close to (F) which is the flattened 5th. This is followed by a (D) note bent up to a pitch between (D) and (D#) immediately follows and the phrase is ended with a fretted tonic note (B). During the first four bars King employs an array of typical blues bends. In bar 1 King bends the 9th(C#) of the B7 chord up a whole tone to the 3rd (D#) then performs a bend and release which involves bending the 9th (C#) up to (D#) then releasing the bent note back down to the original (C#) note. creating a “blue note”. It is worth mentioning that as with many blues guitarists. This is an example of bending being used to create the interplay between major and minor which is an essential part of blues language. These micro tonal inflections also help to produce a vocal like quality to B.B King‟s playing and serve as a vehicle to enable King to personify the notes he plays.B King is also a recognised singer and his guitar playing could be said to be emulating his voice.B King‟s style. words and notation always fall short of the mark and seem cumbersome as these devices need to be heard to fully understand their impact. highlighting the micro tones along the way which results in a glissando like effect. Bars 3 and 4 serve as a detailed illustration of the level of nuance and expression great blues musician can generate from their instruments. Figure 2 (Track 6) Paying the Cost to Be the Boss 24 .
1967a) and is a common blues phrase which is frequently heard amongst blues performers. It will set you from the person just playing the guitar.B King (Weisethuanet) 25 .1 is taken from B. In other words.B King‟s “Crying Won‟t Help You”(King. finishing with a pentatonic derived melody. you‟ll never have a distinctive style.Figure 2. It seems to say more and you can feel it. I think in terms of not just playing a note but making sure that every note I play means something. You need to put yourself into what you are doing. make music” B. If you just play notes and not put anything into it. King bends the 4th of C7. It makes the sound sort of stimulating.1(Track 7) C7 “To me it‟s like the human voice. (F) note up to the 5th (G). Figure 2. You need to take time with these notes. It‟s like a person singing.
however. making vibrato an extremely powerful and passionate expressive device. fast vibrato.B King) A musician‟s vibrato is analogous to a finger print. Vibrato is an essential part of a blues performance. the application remains the same which is to allow the artist to communicate how they are feeling at a particular point in time. A listener can distinguish one performer from another purely by their vibrato alone. a story with a beginning. faster vibrato. like bending. In this example Muddy achieves his particular vibrato with the use of a slide. It has the power to make an instrument speak or sing and can transform a solo from an organized collection of notes into a dramatic unfolding.Vibrato “The faster I shake my hand the better it sounds to me. As with many other expressive devices employed by blues musicians. I want it to sound like the vibrato in a human‟s voice. 1950) and is an example of a wide. generally speaking. meaning that no two are exactly the same. most blues musicians employ a wider. vibrato is intended to mimic the human voice. middle and an end. There are a multitude of approaches used to create vibrato and each is instrument specific. Figure 3 is an excerpt from the introductory guitar solo from Muddy Waters “Louisiana Blues”(Morganfield. and like the human voice vibrato comes in a variety of shades and inflection. an emotional entity. Figure 3 (Track 8) 26 .”(B. However.
B King‟s „The Thrill is Gone”(Darnell. Like Muddy Waters. B. 1951).Figure 3.B King‟s vibrato is very rapid evoking a vocal like quality.1 is an example of a fast vibrato being achieved without a slide. It comes from an excerpt taken from B.1 (Track 9) Bm7 27 . Figure 3.
The result was an extremely powerful tone that possessed a certain rawness to it. even when they have the same pitch and dynamic. which can be illustrated by the playing of blues harmonica player Little Walter. Blues vocalists employ an array of tonal effects with their voices such as growls.”(Ripani) The following audio examples can be found on the accompanying compact disc and are from various significant blues artists. Albert King. Similarly. Indeed most blues musicians seem to possess a rawness or vocal-like quality to their sound. along with other stylistic traits. Freddie King. and learning to effectively use these features is important to mastering the style. Blues musicians embraced amplification due to its ability to facilitate tonal diversity as well as volume. Little Walter revolutionised the sound of the harmonica when he developed the technique of cupping a microphone attached to an amplifier in his hand while he played. screeches. 28 . It is also important to stress once again that many blues instrumentalist are also singers. which has seen blues artist appropriate the speech like nature of their singing to their instruments. These examples attempt to illustrate the role that timbre and its manipulation play in a blues performance.Timbre Timbre8 plays an important role within the blues language and is perhaps one of the most defining elements of the blues. similar to a preacher shouting to his congregation. nasal moans and falsettos to colour their voice in order to evoke emotion and drama. These guitarists employ effects such as distortion. Albert Collins and Taj Mahal. The techniques and tools used by instrumentalists to create these timbrel variations are numerous and differ depending on the instruments capabilities. tremolo and reverb (all of which are electronic devices that manipulate or colour timbre) in order to vary their sound. Overall a blues musician “realizes that such timbre. instrumentalists distort and manipulate timbre to mimic the expressive range of their singing counterparts. helps to communicate with his audience in an essential way. Another prime example of this can be heard in the “dirty “or “gravelly” guitar tones exhibited by a plethora of notable blues guitarist such as B. However amplification has played a significant role in allowing the blues language to evolve to what it is today. 8 Timbre is what makes a particular musical sound different from another. wah-wah. grunts.B King.
Muddy Waters Mannish Boy released June 1955.B. Chess label Track 13.Track 10.B king Sweet Sixteen released 1960. Chess label Track 11.Little Walter Rocker released 1965. Chess label Track 12. Smoke Stack Lightning released March 1956. Kent label 29 .Howling Wolf.
He began his international career as a bandleader and recording artist in 1978. and then I got into jazz shortly thereafter”. and joined the Gary Burton Quartet. Scofield toured and recorded with Miles Davis. After a debut recording with Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker. recording over 30 albums as a leader including collaborations with contemporary artist such as Pat Metheny. when I was 14. John Scofield(Interviews) 30 . King and blues. Throughout his career Scofield has punctuated his traditional jazz offerings with blues-funk oriented electric music. Got real into it. Inspired by both rock and blues players he later attended Berklee College of Music in Boston. became a blues purist. Jack DeJohnette.B. Between the periods of 1982 to 1985. 15. and that whole blues guitar thing. “I got into B. Joe Lovano and Phil Lesh. Medeski. Charlie Haden. Eddie Harris. Government Mule. Martin & Wood. Brad Mehldau. In 1977 he recorded with Charles Mingus. Mavis Staples. Scofield took up the guitar at age 11. Since that time he has prominently led his own groups in the international Jazz scene.Chapter 2: An Analysis of the Blues Elements in John Scofield’s Improvisatory Style Background Born in Ohio and raised in suburban Connecticut. His tenure with Miles Davis placed him firmly in the foreground of the jazz world as a player and composer. Bill Frisell. Scofield became a member of the Billy CobhamGeorge Duke Band for two years.
is nowhere more implicit than in John Scofield‟s style. This emphasis on rhythm is “one of the most fundamental approaches to jazz improvisation. which so forcefully permeates the jazz idiom. 1996) Scofields plays in a manner that continually emphasises or understates the underlying metric pulse within an improvisation. He utilises bends and a bluesesque vibrato within a jazz improvisational context which is not common amongst traditional jazz guitar players. The use of these expressive techniques doesn‟t come across as contrived or used merely for effect. a trait commonly found amongst blues musicians rather than jazz guitarists. it is the outcome of a salient fusion of stylistic concepts from both genres that has allowed Scofield to attain his individual sound. rather Scofield seems to be aware of “how each and every note/bend fits with the horizontal/vertical structures of chord progressions essential to jazz” (Weisethuanet). and is normally referred to as time feel”. Scofield‟s distinctive style is also largely due to his acute sense of time and awareness of groove. The idea of timbrel individuality. Scofield tends to play with a lightly distorted sound.(De Stefano. Through the adoption of the blues language Scofield has developed one of the most unique instrumental timbres in the history of jazz guitar.B King.bop and modern jazz language with the timbrel and microtonal nuance of country and urban blues. Rather. His harmonic approach is based on the advanced pentatonic and chordal substitutions made famous by modern jazz players like John Coltrane and others as well as the „straight ahead‟ be-bop phrases of Charlie Parker.Scofield’s improvisatory style: General Observations Scofield‟s improvisatory style synthesises the harmonic complexity of be. constantly pushing and pulling against the figures played by other band members. The timbrel characteristics and dynamic manoeuvrability associated with Scofield‟s sound do not derive solely from either jazz or blues respectively. Integrated within this jazz syntax is a deep understanding and appreciation of the blues traditions of artists such as Muddy Waters and B. 31 . His manipulation of elements such as dynamics and sonoric intensity is a major characterizing aspect of his sound.
Figure 4 is an example of Scofield utilising blues-esque bends with jazz phrasing and is taken from an improvisation on his own composition “Not You Again. 1942) Bars 1 and 3 contain typical jazz phrasing. 32 . This is an example of how Scofield incorporates intonation as an expressive device throughout his jazz phrasing and echoes his country and urban blues influences.” (Scofield. However. He also varies his articulation by picking or striking the string in different areas of the guitar and utilising techniques such as slurs. It is important to point out that Scofield uses space.” (Scofield. During bar 2 Scofield bends the (G) flat note up to a (G) note. Throughout “Not You Again. Figure 4 (Track 14) Bbm7 Eb 7 Ab maj 7 Scofield‟s utilisation of string bends can be further illustrated in Figure 4. hammer-ons and pull offs. in order to alter timbre within his improvisation. which allows for greater impact and draws the listener‟s attention. immediately preceding and following the bent note. which makes use of chord tones interspersed with chromatic passing tones.” (Warren.1. 2001) This particular tune has been composed using the chord changes of the well known jazz standard “There Will Never Be Another You. 2001) Scofield‟s tone is quite distorted and strays from the traditional jazz guitar sound. during bar 2 Scofield bends the (C) note up to a note close to (D) flat.
the resulting sound is very bluesy. due to the instrumentation being guitar and drums only. over jazz harmony. yet still retains the sophistication of jazz. in particular string bends. the improvisation by Scofield is executed within the harmonic and formal structures of this well 33 . 1987) which features John Scofield. 1942) found on Roberto Gatto‟s album “Ask” (Gatto. This particular performance demonstrates Scofield‟s highly developed awareness of and ability to control and manipulate timbre and dynamics. Figure 4.2 (Track 16) Track 17 is an audio example and is taken from “There Will Never Be Another You” (Warren. Scofield moves the motif up in minor thirds which suggest a (B) flat diminished sound.Figure 4. and can be found on the accompanying compact disc. This motif is very common amongst blues players and is reminiscent of B. 1989) and is another example of how Scofield utilises blues expressive techniques. Although this performance is somewhat unusual in a jazz context.2 is an excerpt from Scofield‟s solo on the tune “Flat Out”(Scofield. illustrated in Figure 2. Scofield employs string bends to produce certain notes throughout this passage.1 (Track 15) Figure 4.1. Throughout this passage Scofield repeats a motif over the entire progression.B King‟s playing.
3 is Scofield‟s interpretation of the melody of “All the Things You Are”(Hammerstein. However. Figure 4. 1942) Scofield produces an effect similar to the falsetto heard in the singing styles of blues and gospel singers such as can be identified in the aforementioned B.” (King. Bar 1 one is played with a soft dynamic and a consistent timbrel approach. The use of timbrel manipulation and colouration to obtain vocal or human like qualities through the use of techniques such as string bends is an element essential to the blues language. 1989) This example demonstrates Scofield‟s manipulation of timbre in order to create contrast and engage the listener. This blue note seems to function more as a device to manipulate timbre.”(Scofield.” (Warren. King track “Sweet Sixteen. Figure 4. 1939) taken from his album “Flat Out. Dynamically. resulting in a blue note.3 (Track 18) Cm7 B Dim 7 34 . The (F) note is bent up to a note that lies below (G) flat. which allows for a greater contrast in timbre.known jazz standard “There Will Never Be Another You. The overall effect is of screaming or squealing bearing a human-like quality. This particular example is reminiscent of the slide playing of Muddy Waters or the vocal cries of Howling Wolf. the (F) note is louder in its delivery. during bar 2 Scofield manipulates the timbre of the note (F) by employing an aggressive attack on the string as well as employing a string bend. 1967b) (Track 4). rather than a deliberate harmonic choice.B.
which creates a „moaning‟ or „crying‟ effect that can be observed in the vocal and playing styles of a plethora of blues artists. During Bar 1 Scofield employs an effect similar to that of a slide guitar player. which manipulates the timbre of the notes.Figure 4. 35 . such devices were prevalent in the blues and rock genres. 1989) and demonstrates how Scofield integrates these manipulations in timbre into his jazz language. The use of electronic devices was not heard in straight ahead jazz guitar prior to the emergence of artist such as John Scofield.4 is another example taken from the tune “Flat Out” (Scofield. bars 13 and 14 reveal the influence of Muddy Waters and other blues slide guitar players. 1950). This is draws comparison to figure 3. The repeated (E) notes during bars 13 and 14 are played with a wide and fast vibrato and varied articulation. which is comparable to what can be achieved with the use of a slide. which is Muddy Waters introductory phrase on “Louisiana Blues” (Morganfield. via the use of a volume pedal (a foot operated device that allows a musician to control the dynamic output of their instrument). however. Bars 3 to 12 exhibit melodic and harmonic language and phrasing commonly found in the jazz tradition. Scofield gradually increases the dynamic of the bent note. Bill Frisell and Pat Metheny. however Scofield uses the volume pedal to render the initial attack of the note inaudible. The (G) flat note is bent up to a note that lies just below a (G) natural. however.
Figure 4.4 (Track 19) 36 .
The definitions have been slightly modified. 37 . 1949) certain applicable guidelines proposed by Jan LaRue were integrated. 2004) album. The purpose of these analyses is to investigate how Scofield superimposes blues language over the harmonically complex chord progressions commonly found in jazz standards. According to LaRue. making them more relevant to the particular musical context. The analysis will be focused on how the blues elements are seamlessly interwoven into the jazz language inherent within these improvisations. which constitute the blues elements that have permeated Scofield style to the greatest extent. which a recording of a live club date in 2004. when analysing the blues elements within these improvisations. Furthermore. the discussion of John Scofield‟s improvisatory style. It is important that the blues elements evident in Scofield‟s playing are observed in context with his general improvisatory style. that is. 1989) This contrasts with the second analysis. taken from his 1989 studio release “Flat Out.” (Scofield. his solo on “Wee. 1949) taken from the “EnRoute” (Scofield. This will highlight to what degree Scofield draws upon his blues influences within a jazz improvisation. bending and timbre. 1) Timbre: the instrumental colour and tone-quality produced by the improviser. The first analysis within this chapter is of Scofield improvisation on “All the Things You Are” (Hammerstein.Analysis of selected John Scofield Improvisations The Analysis There are two analyses of John Scofield‟s improvisations presented within this chapter. The style-analytical category of sound comprises. In the analyses of John Scofield‟s guitar sound during his performance of “All the Things You Are” (Hammerstein. it is necessary to analyse each particular example within the context of an entire phrase. 1939). Both are complete in the sense that they go beyond simply looking at the blues elements contained within them. 2) Dynamics: the intensity of sound or fluctuation of intensity generated in a solo. 1939) and “Wee” (Best. and manipulated through different techniques and procedures. the style analysis of sound includes observations falling naturally into two categories: timbre and dynamics. Due to the constraints of this dissertation the focus of the analysis is restricted to blue notes.” (Best.
The production on this album is quite slick which differs from traditional production methods for jazz recording. by employing techniques such as bends to emulate the human voice. Throughout this bar he utilises blues expressive devices to achieve colour tones commonly found in jazz. 1989) It is interesting to hear how Scofield approaches this particular jazz standard.”(Scofield. electric bass and drums. Scofield bends the tonic note (A) 38 . Scofield chose the trio format with the instrumentation consisting of electric guitar. A prominent feature apparent in Scofield‟s improvisational approach is the use of „blue notes.Analysis of Scofields solo on “All the Things You Are” General This rendition of Kern & Hammerstein‟s "All the Things the Things You Are”(Hammerstein. what makes Scofield‟s approach unique is that he uses these elements over sophisticated jazz harmonic progressions. These „blue notes‟ are a key characteristic of blues harmony. Scofield however employs these micro tonal ideas over major 7th and minor 7th chords which are present in the harmony of “All the Things You Are” (Hammerstein. The tonality of this particular bar is (A) flat major 7. The tune consists of a 36 bar form and Scofield‟s improvisation spans a total of 6 choruses. 1939) appears on John Scofield‟s 1989 release.‟ He achieves these blue notes in the same manner as a blues musician. Bending and Blue Notes Scofield is essentially a jazz musician. which harmonically implies a Dominant 7th chord. 1939). The first example of Scofield utilising „blue notes‟ over a major 7th tonality can be seen in the 4th bar of this solo. the use of a solid body bass gives the track a modern quality. The musical interaction between the members of the group and their choice of harmonic and rhythmic language is steeped in the jazz tradition. What Scofield has managed to achieve is to successfully fuse the distinctive elements of country and urban blues music with his broad knowledge of jazz harmony. Traditional blues melodies are primarily played over dominant 7th chords which form the essence of the blues sound. however. as such his harmonic language is derived primarily from the jazz idiom. “Flat Out. Scofield plays a (G) flat note which is the flat 7th. however.
The two bars in question are a (G) major 7 tonality. then resolves back to the 9th (F). bar 2 of B. it is how he produces these tonalities.B King. The use of space within this bar 34 helps give weight to this blues figure and adds contrast to the bebop language that follows in bars 35 and 36. by employing bending techniques that are reminiscent of blues musicians such as B. The two bars preceding bars 51 and 52 are also quite sparse. 39 .B King‟s “Paying the Cost to Be the Boss” (King. The practice of a semi tone bend that returns to the original note is a device commonly found in the blues and is often referred to as a „bend and release. This expressive element is exhibited in B.B King and Muddy Waters. 1968) in the blues language section of this dissertation. The way Scofield manoeuvres out of this blues like bend by targeting an (F#) note which is the 6th of next chord (A) minor.B King‟s “Paying the Cost for Being the Boss”(King. 1968) figure 2. Scofield immediately bends to a tension note. Although the (A) flat note is a resolution. Bar 51 and 52 contain various expressive techniques used by blues artists and further illustrates how Scofield manages to incorporate these elements within jazz harmony and phrasing. The dynamic and technical control required of this particular bend is astounding and echoes the influence of B.flat up to (A) natural which is the flat nine of the chord. It isn‟t the actual note choice that makes Scofield‟s approach over the (A) flat chord interesting. demonstrates he is acutely aware of how these blues expressive techniques fit within the harmonic context. He bends a flat 3rd (B) flat up to a note that lies just below the natural 3rd (B) creating a „blue note.‟ Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this particular phrase is the way Scofield bends the 9th (A) up to natural 3rd (B) making use of all the micro tonal increments along the way. Over the (E) flat dominant 7 chord Scofield bends the 9th (F) up to a note that lays somewhere between the natural 9th and the shape 9. The actual sharpened 9th tonality over a dominant 7 chord is not uncommon in jazz harmony.‟ This technique can be heard in the styles of a plethora of notable blues artists being illustrated by Figure 2. once again adding contrast and allowing the blues phrasing room to shine. denying the feeling of resolution. both rhythmically and melodically. The use of blues-like bends to colour the underlying harmony can be illustrated further in bar 34. however the bending technique used to achieve the tonalities is quite unique.
Bars 137 through to 140 not only demonstrate Scofield‟s capacity for micro tonal nuance but also give insight into how Scofield thinks harmonically. Over the (B) dominant 7 chord in bar 58. Scofield employs a blues like double stop on beat 4 of bar 135. This seems to be a trend within this improvisation. 40 . (D) flat minor 7th and (C) minor 7th chords. by sounding an (A)flat and sliding an (E)flat up to (F) simultaneously. Scofield sounds the 9th (C) sharp. then immediately bends the sharpened fifth (G) up to the 13th (G) sharp. The use of this scale over these chords creates various points of tension and resolution. draw attention to Scofield‟s ability to fuse blues type bends with bebop phrasing. During bar 137 a (B) flat is bent up to a (C) flat note. Scofield‟s awareness of how blues language can be applied within complex jazz harmony is further illustrated in the 4th chorus of this improvisation during bars 135 to 140. which is then released back down to a (B) flat note in bar 138 over a (D) flat minor chord. Double stops are commonly used devices among blues guitarists as shown in Figure 1. which is evident in bar 57. Once again Scofield sets up his blues language with the use of space.Bars 58 through to bar 60. Scofield superimposes the (D) flat blues mode over the (A) flat major 7th. Bar 59 shows Scofield follow the bend with a chromatic jazz phrase over the (E) major 7th and (C) 7th altered chords. (D) flat major.1 of Chapter 1.
An example of this type of tone can be heard on track 2 of the accompanying compact disc.B. which not only engages the listener. blues and funk musicians and was originally designed to mimic the human voice.Timbre Scofield‟s guitar tone on “All the Things You Are” (Hammerstein. This particular tone colour strays from traditional jazz guitar tone and is reminiscent of blues artists such as Muddy Waters and B. This effect is commonly used by rock. This example is achieved by Scofield changing his articulation and striking the string closer to the bridge of the guitar. which is taken from Muddy Waters “Mannish Boy” (Morganfield. each note still retains a distinct clarity. he employs devices to manipulate timbre as a means of expression. During bars 137 to 140 Scofield produces variations in timbre by employing expressive techniques such as bends and altering the velocity of his attack on the strings. but helps to personify the phrase. Although Scofield utilises this tone throughout most of the improvisation. 1939) employs a slight distortion on the initial attack of the note. This results in a vocal-like cry. Bars 150 and 152 are another example of timbre being manipulated to obtain vocal like qualities and clearly demonstrate Scofield‟s awareness of the capacity of timbre as an expressive tool. a trait commonly found amongst blues musicians. 41 . 1955). King. This sound is similar to an effect called wah-wah (refer to expressive techniques chapter). however.
Scofield‟s harmonic language is largely derived from jazz. 1949) appears on John Scofield‟s 2004 release. Scofield repeatedly bends the tonic note (D) up to a note the flat 9th (D) sharp. The phrase is quite angular and outlines a (B) flat dominant 7th flat five tonality. 2004). Scofield employs string bends and slurs to exploit the microtonal increments that surround the flattened 5th (E). 42 . Bending and Blue Notes As mentioned in the previous analysis of “All the Things You Are” (Hammerstein. He also allows space before this phrase allowing for greater contrast between the predominantly swung eighth note angular bebop phrasing that proceeds bar 113 and 114. EnRoute is a live album by The John Scofield Trio recorded at New York's Blue Note jazz club in December 2003. a frequently used as a point of investigation amongst jazz musicians. 1930). This particular improvisation on the tune “Wee” (Best. Throughout this phrase Scofield uses string bends to distort intonation and utilise the pitch complexes that exist between two notes. creating a (D) dominant 7th flat 9 tonality. 1949) is another example of how Scofield inflects bebop phrasing with blues sensibilities such as blue notes and bends. Bars 113 and 114. which occurs during the 4th chorus of his solo are played over a (D) dominant 7th chord and displays Scofield‟s ability to interweave blues elements into the harmonic fabric of jazz. Bars 131 and 132 illustrate Scofield‟s use of the flattened 5th degree of a chord. The tune is derived from the jazz standard composed by George and Ira Gershwin entitled “I Got Rhythm” (Gershwin. 1939).Analysis of Scofields solo on “Wee” General “Wee”(Best. The tune consists of a 32 bar form and Scofield‟s improvisation spans a total of 8 choruses. “EnRoute” (Scofield. The use of these micro tonal increments generates harmonic tension and captures the listener‟s attention. Bars 81 to 86 contain a very interesting phrase that employs large intervallic leaps. The harmonic progression of this tune is known as „Rhythm Changes‟.
contains a (B) flat major chord. then releases the bend back down to the augmented 5th. Bar 205 substantiates this notion of Scofield‟s ability to employ common harmonic chordal alterations found in jazz. using them as a means of creating contrast and building energy. Once again. up to the 13th (E). Scofield is able to personify these notes with the use a bend. Scofield uses the blues influences that permeate his style quite sparingly. This is another example of Scofield employing the bend and release technique that is associated with many blues guitarists as shown in Figure 2. Over the (G) dominant 7th chord. Although the use of these colour tones is a common device found in the jazz syntax. which is a powerful expressive tool. Scofield bends the augmented 5th (E) flat. By exploiting such techniques Scofield is able to create ambiguity in intonation. 43 . and then releases the bend back down to the 4th.Bar 169 to 176 provide further weight to Scofield‟s ability to in fuse jazz harmony with blues inflection and nuance. Scofield bends the 4th (E) flat. Scofield plays the 13th (G) then rolls or bends the string off the fret board of the guitar. resulting in blue notes. up the Flat 5 (E) natural. with a manner that is unique and personalised. During bar 173. Over a (B) flat chord. These colourations are a deep part of Scofield‟s individualism and originality. The resulting pitch seems to be a (D) note. Scofield uses space and relatively simple rhythmic material as a way of developing contrast between this blues inflections and the jazz phrasing that proceeds and follows.
striking the string closer to the bridge of the guitar. 1949) exhibits many characteristics similar to those found in the stylings of blues guitarists. Scofield doesn‟t employ timbrel variation as in “All the Things You Are” (Hammerstein. This solo displays Scofield aptitude for creating timbrel variation while improvising within a jazz structure. a common used device by Scofield for manipulating timbre. However throughout this improvisation. Throughout this passage Scofield changes his articulation on the (E) notes. Scofield‟s capacity to manipulate timbre is evident during bars 201 to 205. 44 . exhibiting a raw quality. further highlighting the impact of blues artist on his improvisatory style. and once again echoes the influence of Muddy Waters and B. Scofield also employs a wide and fast vibrato throughout this passage which creates a sound similar to that heard in the slide playing of Muddy Waters and the finger vibrato of B. 1939).Timbre Scofields guitar tone on “Wee” (Best. King.B.B King.
timbre and rhythm were quite narrow and both jazz and blues musicians would benefit from further investigation into these elements. Due to the restrictions of this dissertation the investigations into elements such as the blue note. throughout chapter one. Although Scofield harmonic and rhythmic language is derived primarily from the jazz idiom. the author believes that the blues has been shown to be a highly sophisticated and intricate form of music that embraces micro tonality. determining how he uses these influences can only be achieved by analysing his improvisations.Conclusion The main goal of this investigation was firstly to establish the extent to which the blues language permeates John Scofield‟s improvisational style and secondary to understand how he utilise these elements in his playing. This focus on individualism is not only central to blues. This task and is a thesis topic in itself. Chapter two focused on John Scofield‟s improvisatory style and set out to demonstrate how the blues elements discussed in chapter one were employed within a straight ahead jazz context. however. the blues is deeply rooted within his style and is not used merely for decorative effect. In so doing it has been demonstrated that apart from his distorted guitar sound. 45 . as a way of creating contrast in his music and to exert an individualism throughout his playing style. To pursue this goal. Scofield uses the blues language rather sparingly within his jazz improvisations. swing and timbrel manipulation in order to heighten the emotional impact a performer has on their audience and to form a sense of individualism. it was essential to first examine what is the blues language. It can be easily shown by the various quotes attributed to John Scofield that appear in this dissertation that Scofield is indeed influenced by blues artists. it is an essential ingredient in jazz and is perhaps why these two genres have frequently borrowed from one another throughout their histories. Nonetheless. Perhaps Scofield‟s own words give the greatest insight into the role the blues plays within his improvisational approach.
has helped to breathe new life back into jazz guitar. In a way.“I am totally in debt to the blues.. blues. the good blues. I think blues is really powerful music. and along with other players such as Bill Frisell and Pat Metheny.. 46 .” John Scofield (Weisethuanet) This statement is poignant in that it is his attitude towards music that has allowed Scofield to develop an individual voice on the guitar. the phrasing of blues and rock. or rock music. with the be-bop chords and changes. I think all those elements are in my music. For me it‟s really hard to separate between jazz or fusion..I think I was one of the first to seriously try to incorporate that element. rhythm & blues..
Appendix 1 (Track 20) 47 .
Appendix 2 (Track 21) by Bruce Saunders Transcribed 52 .
1951. A History. 1996. D. Not You Again. Flat Out. D. Available: http://www. Gala Records. Going Down Slow. WARREN. MORGANFIELD. ODEN. B. 1993. 1930. Ask. 1942. SCOFIELD. 1948.com/digitalinterviews/views/scofield. W. B. Wee. 1939. Rocker. KING. H. B. All the Things You are. 1965. BRANNON. Manish Boy. There Will Never Be Another You. RIPANI. B. 1954. B. 1942. BMG KING. Crying Won't Help You. Wes Montgomery's improvisational style (1959-1963): The Riverside years. G. 1967a. Early Downhome Blues. Twentieth Century Music Corp. Gramavision Records. BMG. J. PAUL OLIVER. Louisiana Blues. SCOFIELD. J. Ph. D. B. DARNELL. BEST. Is there such a thing as the blue note? 56 . M. A. H.htm [Accessed].1950-1999. A. R. 1967b. M. HAMMERSTEIN. J.com/iviews/jscofield2002_1. 1949. G. Arc(BMI). SCOFIELD. R. 1968. 1955.digitalinterviews. F. Available: http://www. O. Watertoons Music. Enroute. The Cambridge companion to Blues and Gospel music. BMG.B King Blues Masters vol 1: Manhattan Music. Paticipatory Discrepancies and the Power of Music. INTERVIEWS. KEIL. B. M. J. A. TIRRO. JACOBS.allaboutjazz. 2004.shtml [Accessed]. 2001. Watertoons Music. J. 1987. GERSHWIN. Watertoons Music. H. Universal. C. EVANS. The New Blue Music Changes in Rhythm and Blues. Wabash Music. Paying The Cost For Being The Boss. B. I. JOHN GODRICH. TITON. T. Cambridge University Press. R. The Thrill is Gone. 1989. NN09589. Universite de Montreal (Canada). HOWARD RYE Yonder Come the Blues. Music Sales Corp. M. MORGANFIELD. Jazz. KING. GATTO. Verve. Sweet Sixteen.D. J. R.. K. J. I Can't Be Satisfied. B. R.Bibliography B. 1950. KING. WEISETHUANET. Verve. MORGANFIELD. ROBERT DIXON. DE STEFANO. You Upsets Me Baby. BMG. R.
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