Critic's Choice

John Scofield, with the Derek Trucks Band, Thursday, April 13, at the Gothic Theatre, has been loosening up a little bit more with each passing year -- and that's a good thing. The albums this undeniably gifted guitarist made following his '80s residence with Miles Davis were always listenable and frequently enjoyable, but they could be somewhat tentative and predictable at times. Lately, though, he's found a fine balance between virtuosity and accessibility, first on A Go Go, a 1998 disc that teamed him with Medeski, Martin & Wood, and now with Bump, his new disc for Verve. MMW bassist Chris Wood, a former Boulderite, is again on-hand, contributing his alluring lines to several tracks, including "Beep Beep," a rousing New Orleans-style number, and the relaxed-but-funky "Kelpers." But Scofield is the real show here, whipping out his wah-wah during "Blackout," making each chord count on the pleasantly sketchy "We Are Not Alone," and drawing out the shimmying groove of "Drop and Roll." Jazzbos may be disappointed at the shortage of dexterity exhibitions here ("Chichon" is pretty much the only one), but the more casual observer will likely be grateful for the good times. After all, "fun" isn't a four letter word.


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