Music News

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.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts