Tuesday, November 4, 2008

James Muller Trio with John Scofield

Before the ink was dry on my festival program, I knew that I would be lining up for this gig. There had been a spot of rain earlier in the evening and the sound people had been worried about cables getting wet, but the rain had stopped by the time this concert came along. Yaay!

In the dark, with my not-so-special camera and with me about four rows back, I gave up trying too hard to get a shot, but not before I'd captured a blur of James Muller and Ben Vanderwal (drums).

We started with couple of tunes with just the trio, which was James, Ben and Matt Penman on bass.

A piece by Sean Wayland called 'Honeycomb'; reminded again of James's sound... A Muller piece called Chick Corea. Was there one more? I didn't write it down.

Then John Scofield joined the trio onstage and we were in for a treat. There has been some fuss made in the press of James Muller being anxious about this moment. We all just wanted to hear. What would this sound like? A tune called 'We' and I don't know who wrote it. Was it a Charlie Parker tune? I don't think that's what James said... but somebody else said it was. Comments / assistance welcome!

Then a change of tempo, slowing it down for a James Muller tune Beethoven, which he laughingly introduced by saying he was going to make John Scofield try and read his music... well it looked tricky, from where I sat! Don't know what was going on, but I reckon James might need to tidy up his handwriting :-)

On to a Scofield tune 'Everybody's Party'. In this and the previous 'We' we were treated to conversations between John and James that had the feel of discovery. Little challenges and smiles... and joining together in places to produce an exhilirating sound with both guitars in unison. The energy coming from the stage was positive, strong, full of goodwill and good vibes. Needless to say, those of us watching and listening had a ball.

An encore requested and after they toyed with us for a little bit we had 'Billy's Bounce', this one definitely a Charlie Parker tune. Again the conversations, the fun, the awesome playing, the sense that we didn't want it to end.

But it did. And after a set that had shown me (for the second time today) a bass player and drummer working very very hard...


Kolonel said...

Did anyone record the show... It's like two of the best guitarists in the world.... but it's much more than that. I mean there's Sco and then James as the next generation to come from players like Sco.. I'd think of this show as a conversation between Father and Son.... I bet James would feel this way... like John is his estranged guitar father! Does that make sense or does it sound stupid?

IhateLewis said...

Is there really no footage of this encounter? It's the best meeting of guitarists I could possibly imagine.

Jazzer caster said...

Man I would kill to hear this! There has to be a recording for sure.